Kenneth Kaunda

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Kenneth David Kaunda, affectionately known as KK (born April 28, 1924) served as the first President of Zambia, from 1964 to 1991.

Contents

Early life

Kaunda was the youngest of eight children. He was born at Lubwa Mission in Chinsali, Northern Province of Northern Rhodesia, now Zambia. His father was the Reverend David Kaunda, an ordained Church of Scotland missionary and teacher, who was born in Malawi and had moved to Chinsali to work at Lubwa Mission. He attended Munali Training Centre in Lusaka (August 1941–1943).

Kaunda was a teacher at the Upper Primary School and Boarding Master at Lubwa and then Headmaster at Lubwa from 1943 to 1945. He was for a time working at the Salisbury and Bindura Mine. In early 1948, he became a teacher in Mufulira for the United Missions to the Copperbelt (UMCB). He was then assistant at an African Welfare Centre and Boarding Master of a Mine School in Mufulira. In this period, he was leading a Pathfinder Scout Group and was Choirmaster at a Church of Central Africa Congregation. He was also for a time Vice-Secretary of the Nchanga Branch of Congress.

Independence struggle

In April 1949 Kaunda returned to Lubwa to become a part-time teacher, but resigned in 1951. In that year he became Organising Secretary of the Northern Rhodesian African National Congress for Northern Province, which included at that time Luapula Province. On 11 November 1953 he moved to Lusaka to take up the post of Secretary General of the ANC, under the presidency of Harry Nkumbula. The combined efforts of Kaunda and Nkumbula failed to mobilize the indigenous African people against the White-dominated Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland. In 1955 Kaunda and Nkumbula were imprisoned for two months with hard labour for distributing "subversive" literature. Such imprisonment and other forms of harassment were normal rites of passage for African nationalist leaders. The experience of imprisonment had a radicalizing impact on Kaunda. The two leaders drifted apart as Nkumbula became increasingly influenced by white liberals and was seen as being willing to compromise on the issue of Black majority rule, waiting till the majority was 'ready' before extending the franchise. This was, however, to be determined by existing property and literacy qualifications, dropping race altogether. Nkumbula's allegedly autocratic leadership of the ANC eventually resulted in a split. Kaunda broke from the ANC and formed the Zambian African National Congress (ZANC) in October 1958. ZANC was banned in March 1959. In June Kaunda was sentenced to nine months' imprisonment, which he spent first in Lusaka, then in Salisbury (now called Harare).

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