News / Africa

Zambians Mourn Death of Former First Lady Betty Kaunda

James Butty
Zambia is mourning the death of Betty Kaunda, wife of the country’s founding president, Kenneth Kaunda, who died early Wednesday in Zimbabwe while visiting her daughter. 

The former first lady is viewed as the mother of the nation and the strength of her husband, who played a leading role during Africa’s liberation struggle. Kaunda was 84.  

Zambia’s minister for foreign affairs and tourism, Given Lubinda, President Michael Sata and the people of Zambia are shocked and saddened by the death of the woman known by most Zambians as “Mama Kaunda.”

“The Zambian people and the government of Zambia received the information about the passing of the former first lady, Mama Betty Kaunda, with a great sense of shock because the last time Mama Betty Kaunda appeared in public in the company of her husband, she looked well and happy with her usual smile.  Mrs. Betty Kaunda is considered by all Zambians as a mother of the nation, and the country at the moment is engulfed in a sense of grief,” he said.

Lubinda said Kaunda’s popularity even in death, and nearly 21 years since her husband left power, is symptomatic of the kind of humble life she led.

“People in Zambia remember very well the painful experience that Mrs. Kaunda underwent in 1990 after Frederick Chiluba became the second Republican president.  President Kenneth Kaunda was humiliated, together with his family, and yet Madam Betty Kaunda handled everything with such a sense of responsibility and so much grace.  Even after Dr. Kaunda was imprisoned by Frederick Chiluba during Christmas, Madam Betty Kaunda never said any word disparaging President Chiluba and his government,” he said.

He said the late former first lady is also being mourned by many Zambians because in life they consider her as a fountain of hope and inspiration.

Mrs. Kaunda’s husband, the first president of Zambia, contributed greatly towards the liberation of Zambia and the southern African region as a whole.

Butty interview with Lubinda
Butty interview with Lubindai
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X

Lubinda said Kaunda was the strength of her husband during the liberation struggle.

“Dr. Kenneth Kaunda in his book, Letter to My Children, narrates very eloquently what he kept repeating as his fountain of strength during the liberation struggle, and his fountain of strength was no other than Mama Betty Kaunda.  When President Kaunda was incarcerated during the liberation struggle, he went into incarceration with strength because he knew that Mama Betty Kaunda was there to continue the struggle and to continue to take care of their children,” he said.

Lubinda said the Zambian government will give Mrs. Kaunda a befitting funeral.

According to The Zambia Post newspaper, Kaunda is survived by her husband of 66 years, eight children, 30 grandchildren and 11 great grandchildren.

You May Like

Video Indiana Controversy Points to Divergent Notions of Religious Freedom

Gay-marriage opponents are looking for ways to maintain their beliefs in face of changing culture, one writer says More

UNICEF Denies North Korean Measles Outbreak

Agency dismisses Russian media report after government, WHO assurances More

Turkey Seen Taking Harder Stance Against Militant Kurds

Stance comes as President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is being seen as moving closer to generals More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Indiana Controversy Highlights Divergent Meanings of Religious Freedomi
X
Jerome Socolovsky
April 01, 2015 1:41 AM
Indiana’s state government has triggered a nationwide controversy by approving a law that critics say is aimed at allowing discrimination against gays and lesbians. The controversy stems from divergent notions of religious freedom in America. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Indiana Controversy Highlights Divergent Meanings of Religious Freedom

Indiana’s state government has triggered a nationwide controversy by approving a law that critics say is aimed at allowing discrimination against gays and lesbians. The controversy stems from divergent notions of religious freedom in America. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Nigerians Welcome Buhari's Return to Power

Crowds of jubilant Nigerians nationwide have celebrated the return to power of former military ruler Muhammadu Buhari. The retired army general won this year's presidential election with more than 2 million votes more than incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan. Buhari's supporters hope he can strengthen the country's economy and security once he takes office in late May. Zlatica Hoke has this story.
Video

Video Report: State of Black America a 'Tale of Two Nations'

The National Urban League has described this year's "State of Black America" report as a "tale of two nations." The group's annual report, released earlier this month (March), found that under an equality index African Americans had only 72% parity compared to whites in areas such as education, economics, health, social justice and civic engagement. It’s a gap that educators and students at Brooklyn’s Medgar Evers College are looking to close. VOA's Daniela Schrier reports from the school.
Video

Video Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadists

At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video Gamma Ray Observatory to Open Soon in Mexico

American and Mexican scientists have completed construction of the world's largest gamma ray observatory, situated high in central Mexico’s Sierra Negra Mountain. The observatory's huge array of water-based detectors will soon start discovering secrets about black holes and supernovas. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials Underway in West Africa

Ebola has claimed the lives of more than 10,000 people in West Africa. Since last summer, researchers have rushed to get anti-Ebola vaccines into clinical trials. While it's too early to say that any of the potential vaccines work, some scientists say they are seeing strong results from some of the studies. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Tourism is a multi-billion dollar industry in the Philippines. Close to five million foreign visitors traveled there last year, perhaps lured by the country’s tropical beaches. But Jason Strother reports from Manila that the country hopes to entice more travelers to stay indoors and spend money inside new casinos.
Video

Video Civilian Casualties Push Men to Join Rebels in Ukraine

The continued fighting in eastern Ukraine and the shelling of civilian neighborhoods seem to be pushing more men to join the separatist fighters. Many of the new recruits are residents of Ukraine made bitter by new grievances, as well as old. VOA's Patrick Wells reports.
Video

Video Islamic State Prisoners Talk of Curiosity, God, Regret

Islamic State fighter, a prisoner of Kurdish YPG forces, asked his family asking for forgiveness: "I destroyed myself and I destroyed them along with me." The Syrian youth was one of two detainees who spoke to VOA’s Kurdish Service about the path they chose; their names have been changed and identifying details obscured. VOA's Zana Omer reports.
Video

Video Germanwings Findings Raise Issue of Psychological Testing for Pilots

More is being discovered about the co-pilot in the crash of Germanwings Flight 9525 in the French Alps. Investigators say he was hiding a medical condition, raising questions about the mental qualifications of pilots. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.

VOA Blogs

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More