African leaders gather to pay respects to Kenneth Kaunda

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The vehicle carrying the casket of Founding President Kenneth Kaunda arrives for his State Funeral Service at showgrounds in Lusaka, Zambia, Friday, July 2, 2021. Zambia’s first president Kenneth Kaunda died at the age of 97 in June. (AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)

LUSAKA, Zambia (AP) — African leaders have gathered with ordinary Zambians to attend a memorial service Friday for Kenneth Kaunda, the nation’s founding president and supporter of African nationalism.

The presidents of South Africa and Zimbabwe flew into Lusaka, the capital, to honor Kaunda, who died last month at 97. Kaunda is remembered for leading Zambia to independence from British colonial rule in 1964 and backing nationalist movements that fought to bring majority rule to Angola, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe.

Zambian President Edgar Lungu arrived at the Lusaka stadium for the memorial service.

Since Kaunda’s death on June 17, Zambia’s military has flown his body to the country’s 10 provinces so that people from all areas of the country could pay their respects.

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa and Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa on Friday signed the official condolence book for Kaunda.

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