Ramaphosa salutes ‘hero’ Kenneth Kaunda as Zambia’s founding father turns 95

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JOHANNESBURG, April 28 – President Cyril Ramaphosa on Sunday sent a congratulatory birthday message to Zambia’s founding president and liberation hero Kenneth Kaunda as he celebrated his 95th birthday.

In an official message to the Zambian High Commission in Pretoria, Ramaphosa said the selfless attributes that Kaunda embodied, which propelled him to continue the fight against imperialism, colonialism, and apartheid, and his notable heroic sacrifices that contributed to South Africa’s political freedom and the emancipation of other countries in the region and beyond were highly admired.

“On behalf of the government of South Africa, the people, and indeed on my own behalf, we join you and your family, the people of Zambia, Africa, and the world at large, your excellency [Kaunda] in celebrating your 95th birthday. We remain indebted to the contributions you made in your lifetime towards the liberation of our country and the SADC [Southern African Development Community] region. Please accept my warm personal best wishes for good health and may God almighty continue to grant you unparalleled longevity,” Ramaphosa said.

As South Africa celebrated its 25th year of liberation on April 27, this Freedom Day milestone brought to the fore some fond recollections of those who contributed to the country’s freedom, “high among those being the iconic founding father of liberation in the region, in the person of Dr Kaunda, whose great leadership and formidable conviction remain a source of inspiration to the current and latter generations to jealously guard this freedom gained through many years of struggle”, he said.

Several former African heads of state are in Lusaka for the celebrations. Last month, Zambia’s high commissioner to South Africa Emmanuel Mwamba said the former presidents’ visit would be “historic and a symbolic” recognition of Kaunda’s “great contributions to the liberation of Southern Africa”.

Mwamba said Lusaka felt “honoured” by the statesmen’s visit as the nation celebrated the birthday of one of its greatest sons. Kaunda ruled Zambia for 27 years until 1991. (ANA)