23 June 1961: Kenneth David Kaunda during a visit to the United Kingdom before he became the first president of independent Zambia in 1964. (Photograph by Tony Davis/ Daily Express/ Hulton Archive/ Getty Images)
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KK is mourned with warmth

Kenneth Kaunda’s legacy is complex, but he is remembered fondly for opening his country and his heart to liberation movements, living modestly and investing heavily in education.

The African continent has lost one of its most dignified leaders with the death of Kenneth Kaunda. He died on 17 June at the age of 97. Known affectionately as KK, the former president of Zambia fought colonialism and led his country to independence in 1964.

Circa January 1963: From left, Joshua Nkomo of the banned Zapu party of Southern Rhodesia and Kenneth Kaunda attend an event in Zomba in then Nyasaland, later Malawi. (Photograph by Central Press/ Hulton Archive/ Getty Images)

Kaunda was a passionate supporter of the ANC and hosted a number of its exiled leaders, including Oliver Tambo, Thabo Mbeki and Jacob Zuma, in Lusaka. He opened his country and heart to liberation movements across southern Africa and was a vocal critic of the apartheid regime, for which his country paid a sigificant price, including attacks by the Rhodesian Air Force in 1979 and the South African Air Force in 1986.

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