Kenneth Kaunda: the last of the first
Zambia's leader was the last survivor among Africa's founding fathers
MIDWAY THROUGH WRITING this week’s post - initially on the re-appearance of de gouden koets, the Dutch royals’ ceremonial carriage, in a new display at the Rijksmuseum - the Volkskrant website brought news of the death of Kenneth Kaunda, Zambia’s founding president. At 97, he was the last man standing among his generation of Africa's independence leaders.
Divided opinion over the ever-controversial golden carriage, complete with its decorative panel depicting servile natives saluting colonial power, seemed to me to offer a telling index of changing attitudes. But Kaunda, who died in a military hospital in the Zambian capital of Lusaka on June 17, is the better topic: his reputation serves as a lightning rod to reveal other varieties of post-colonial opinion.
For the record, an obituary by Mark Schenkel in Volkskrant covered the main points. A former schoolteacher, KK - as he was known to Zambians - will be remembered for his longevity (in office as in life), his ambivalence to multi-p…