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Kenneth Kaunda: Memorial held for Zambia’s first president

A state memorial service for Zambia's first president, Kenneth Kaunda, has been held with a 21-gun salute and a flypast by the air force.

A state memorial service for Zambia’s first president, Kenneth Kaunda, has been held with a 21-gun salute and a flypast by the air force.

Mr Kaunda died last month, aged 97, after suffering from pneumonia.

He was one of the last of a generation of African leaders who fought colonial rule, and became president after Zambia gained its independence in 1964.

The service was held at a stadium in the capital, Lusaka, where foreign dignitaries paid tributes.

The president was given a 21-gun salute at the memorial

After his death, the government declared three weeks of national mourning, with all forms of entertainment suspended. His body was also taken around the country for members of the public to pay their respects.

Zambia’s President Edgar Lungu has also declared public holidays for the days of the memorial and the funeral – which will be held in private next Wednesday.

Among those at Friday’s ceremony were the leaders of Kenya and Ghana, as well as South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa, who shared images of the day on social media.

Kaunda – popularly known as KK – was a strong supporter of efforts to end apartheid in South Africa. He was also a leading supporter of liberation movements in Mozambique and what is now Zimbabwe.

Speaking at the ceremony, African Union chairman Moussa Faki Mahamat said Kaunda a “giant among men” and “the last of the founding fathers who delivered independence to more than just his own land”.

“Had it not been for the selfless efforts of his generation I would not be before you today as the African Union would not exist,” added Mr Mahamat. “We are forever indebted to Kenneth Kaunda and the people of Zambia.”

Source BBC

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