Kenneth Kaunda: State funeral set for Friday

Friday July 02 2021
Zambia's President Kenneth David Kaunda

Zambia's former President Kenneth Kaunda speaks during the funeral of South African former president Nelson Mandela in Qunu on December 15, 2013. PHOTO | POOL | AFP


Zambia will hold a state funeral on Friday, July 2, for founding President Kenneth Kaunda, who died aged 97 after being taken ill.

He will be buried on July 7.

Fondly called KK, the former statesman was being treated for pneumonia at a military hospital in Lusaka.

The funeral will be held in Lusaka's main showground and will be attended by high profile individuals that includes government representatives, former and incumbent Heads of State.

Zambia had declared 21 days of mourning for the liberation hero who ruled from 1964, after the southern African nation gained independence from Britain, until 1991.

In the meantime, the military has been flying his remains to provincial headquarters of the country’s ten regions to give the public an opportunity to pay their last respects.


State television has been broadcasting footage of residents lining up the streets with white handkerchiefs in hand, which had become his trademark, to mourn the late leader.

Kaunda was born on April 28, 1924, the youngest of eight children of a Church of Scotland minister at Lubwa mission in the remote north of the country.

After leading Zambia for 27 years, a faltering economy made his stay unpopular sparking food riots in the late 1980’s.

In 1991, he was forced to hold the first multi-party elections after 23 years, which he lost to long-time foe and trade unionist Frederick Chiluba.

In his twilight years, Kaunda led a quiet life, mostly staying at home and only occasionally appearing at state functions.