6 July 2021

On Kenneth Kaunda

Percy Zvomuya

On 11 November 1965, the Rhodesian prime minister Ian Smith announced a Unilateral Declaration of Independence (UDI) from imperial Britain. Smith’s decision was designed to head off majority rule. One of his fiercest opponents was Kenneth Kaunda, the president of neighbouring Zambia, which had won independence in 1964. Kaunda, who died of pneumonia last month at the age of 97, stood up for almost thirty years to a formidable alliance of diehard colonial neighbours – the Portuguese in Angola and Mozambique, the British in Rhodesia and the apartheid regime in South Africa – exposing his own country to harsh reprisals from white minority rule. He left office in 1991.