Zambia’s founding president, Kenneth Kaunda, dies aged 97

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LUSAKA, June 17 (Reuters) – Kenneth Kaunda, Zambia’s founding president who led his country for 27 years and championed Africa’s struggles against apartheid and HIV/AIDS, has died at the age of 97.

“KK”, as he was popularly known, was being treated for pneumonia at the Maina Soko Medical Centre, a military hospital in Lusaka. read more

“On behalf of the entire nation and on my own behalf, I pray that the entire Kaunda family is comforted as we mourn our first president and true African icon,” President Edgar Lungu said in a message on his Facebook page.

Authorities declared 21 days of mourning for the liberation hero who ruled from 1964, after the southern African nation won its independence from Britain, until 1991.

Although Zambia’s copper-based economy fared badly under his long stewardship, Kaunda will be remembered more for his role as an anti-colonial fighter who stood up to white minority-ruled South Africa.

He shared a loss experienced by…

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