Tribute to Dr Kenneth Kaunda

THE UNIVERSITY of Johannesburg would like to join the international community in registering our feeling of loss and bereavement at the death of Dr Kenneth David Kaunda, the Founding President of the Republic of Zambia. KK, as we affectionately called him, represented the iconic era of African statesmen and women who fought tirelessly for the liberation of the African continent.

As a true African and global citizen, KK was not satisfied with the independence of his native land at the time when most of Southern Africa was still in shackles of colonial, apartheid, and settler rule. History will long remember the succour that Kaunda and the people of Zambia gave to liberation movements such as the African National Congress (ANC), the Pan Africanist Congress (PAC), the South West African People’s Organisation (SWAPO), and the Zimbabwe African People’s Union (ZAPU).

As UJ, we echo the words of former South African President Thabo Mbeki, who rightly and fittingly described Dr Kaunda as one of the architects of South Africa’s democracy. In like manner, we appreciate President Cyril Ramaphosa’s description of him as the father of the African continent. We are also pleased that the South African government has declared ten days of official mourning for this great loss, and we pledge that we will also fly our flags at half-mast. May we urge all our staff and students to observe this solemn period in the history of our continent.

The best tribute we can play to Dr Kaunda is to follow the great works that he did for the African continent. We have to constantly demonstrate our love for this continent through personal probity; we also have to dedicate ourselves to fighting poverty, unemployment, inequality, and disease. We also have to cherish rather than devalue Africa’s diversity. Dr Kaunda’s motto of ‘One Zambia, One Nation’ was a call to celebrating diversity in Zambia and on the rest of the continent.

We send our deepest condolences to the government and people of Zambia. We are grateful that Zambia, through Dr Kaunda’s heroic and tireless efforts, made it possible for us to enjoy the liberties we do. Dr Kaunda was indeed a quintessential global statesman without whom the world has become poorer. On Thursday 29 June, at 14:00, the University of Johannesburg will host an hour-long webinar in celebration of his life and legacy.

Rest in Peace KK! Akuhlanga lungehlanga!

Professor Tshilidzi Marwala
Principal and Vice-Chancellor
University of Johannesburg

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