Gracious in defeat, Kenneth Kaunda succumbs to pneumonia at 97

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Gracious in defeat, Kenneth Kaunda succumbs to pneumonia at 97

A major figure in the fight for majority rule, the former leader, who left power peacefully, has strummed his last tune

Matthew Hill and Taonga Clifford Mitimingi

Kenneth Kaunda, who led Zambia to independence and then served as the nation’s president for almost three decades, has died. He was 97.

Kaunda’s death was reported by the state-owned Times of Zambia, which cited his son. While he had, on June 14, been admitted to the Maina Soko Military Hospital, one of the main government treatment centres for Covid-19 patients, he tested negative for the virus and was suffering from pneumonia, according to media reports that quoted his assistant.

Waving his trademark white handkerchief to signal approval to crowds of supporters or to dismiss a journalist’s question, Kaunda emerged as a major figure in the fight for majority rule across Southern Africa. His government provided support to black liberation movements in neighbouring Zimbabwe, Namibia, Angola and Mozambique, and he was an outspoken critic of SA’s white minority government...

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