The Southern African Development Community (SADC)learnt of the passing of H.E. Dr Kenneth David Buchizya Kaunda, first President of the Republic of Zambia from 1964 to 1991 on 17 June 2021, with deep sorrow. We extend our deepest condolences to the family of Dr Kaunda, and the people and Government of the Republic of Zambia and indeed to the entire region and continent.
Our hearts are heavy as we mourn the loss of a selfless hero, and a Pan Africanist at heart, who will forever, be remembered as a father of the liberation struggle. Dr Kaunda was the last surviving founding father of SADC and the Organisation of African Unity (OAU), the fore-runner of the African Union (AU).
Dr Kaunda was a visionary who embodied the true values of freedom, non-racialism, democracy and the regional integration of Southern Africa. Through his Philosophy of Humanism, which espoused people-centredness in all spheres of human endeavour, Dr Kaunda symbolized worked tirelessly at freeing the peoples of the continent from the yokes of colonialism, neo-colonialism and apartheid – and in uplifting their livelihoods, dignity and self-worth.
At tremendous cost to the Zambian economy and the security of the country’s people, Dr Kaunda braved the predations of the white minority Rhodesia and apartheid South Africa regimes to host the liberation movements including the Liberation Front of Mozambique (FRELIMO), the People’s Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA), the Zimbabwe African National Union (ZANU) Patriotic Front and the Zimbabwe African People’s Union (ZAPU), the South West African Peoples Organisation (SWAPO), and the African National Congress (ANC), that would eventually bring independence to Mozambique, Angola, Zimbabwe, Namibia and majority rule in South Africa in 1975, 1980, 1990 and 1994, respectively. Dr Kaunda’s vision also greatly contributed to the founding of the Frontline States, the fore-runner of SADC. The formation of the Frontline States was conceived along and established with the late H.E. Sir Seretse Khama of the Republic of Botswana, H.E. Julius Kambarage Nyerere of the United Republic of Tanzania (URT), H.E. Samora Moises Machel of the Republic of Mozambique, and H.E. Dr Agostinho Neto of the Republic of Angola in the early 1970s to lead the liberation struggle for Southern Africa. With the wider involvement of other leaders in Southern Africa, the Frontline States would later transform into the Southern African Development Coordinating Conference (SADCC) and eventually into what we today know as the Southern African Development Community (SADC), seized with promoting the human development of the peoples of the region through a shared political and economic vision.
We further express deep sorrow and heartfelt condolences to Her Excellency President Samia Suluhu Hassan, the Government and the People of the United Republic of Tanzania on the passing of His Excellency Dr John Pombe Joseph Magufuli, the 5th President of the United Republic of Tanzania, who died on 17 March 2021. As a region, we will remember and cherish Dr Magufuli as a Pan-Africanist who championed the development of Africa and stood for the political and economic independence of the continent while using the diverse natural resources of Tanzania for the benefit of its peoples.
During his tenure as the SADC Chairperson, the late Dr Magufuli supported the regional call for the unconditional removal of illegal sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe and SADC has since set 25 October as a day the Region stands in solidarity with Zimbabwe in calling for the removal of the economic embargo. Dr Magufuli also spearheaded the introduction of Kiswahili, a language used in the liberation struggle as the fourth SADC official working language, and today Kiswahili is a working language through interpretation at SADC Summit and Council meetings.
Furthermore, we express our heartfelt condolences to His Majesty King Mswati III and the Government and the People of the Kingdom of Eswatini on the passing of the Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Eswatini the Right Honourable Ambrose Mandvulo Dlamini on 13th December 2020.
We take this opportunity to inform the peoples of the region that in recognition of the sacrifices and their commitment to African political freedom, regional integration and regional economic development, a Mechanism in Honour of the Founders of SADC, which will include a Museum, has been established. In this respect, Dr Kaunda’s legacy, and that of his peers, is being curated in the context of this Mechanism to inspire and to model our youth who represent the core and the future of the more than 300 million citizens of the SADC Region.
We join the bereaved families our late leaders, and the people(s) and Government (s) of their respective countries, and the entire region and continent in celebrating the lives and achievements of these great men in honour of the last surviving founding father of SADC, most Member States have already declared periods of mourning, and the flags at the SADC Headquarters in Gaborone, Botswana, shall be flown at half-mast for seven (7) days as a mark of respect in memory of the former President.
Issued at Maputo, Republic of Mozambique, 23rd June 2021
Download the message from the links below