PRESS STATEMENT: Activists meet with African icon, Zambia’s Kenneth “KK” Kaunda 

06 April 2019

Members of the human rights and Palestine solidarity organisation BDS South Africa, together with activists from the #IsraeliApartheidWeek Africa team, recently held a deeply inspirational meeting in Lusaka with African liberation struggle icon and former statesman, Dr Kenneth Kaunda (95).

Zambia’s founding President, Kenneth Kaunda, fondly known as “Comrade KK”, cut ties with Israel in 1973. Throughout his presidency he remained a committed ally of the Palestinian struggle and the then PLO leader, Yasser Arafat. In 1987, referring to Apartheid South Africa, Kaunda said that there was no difference between Israel and the “racist regime of South Africa.”

In our engagement with Dr Kaunda he reaffirmed his support for the Palestinian struggle against Israeli Apartheid – insisting that history cannot re-write his position on the matter.

We are deeply grateful to Dr Kaunda and his son, Tilyenji, who also formed part of the meeting. Tilyenji is currently the leader of Zambia’s former liberation organisation, the United National Independence Party. The meeting and visit to Zambia forms part of a larger drive into Southern African by the BDS movement and our partners to ensure that the #IsraeliApartheidWeek campaign and Palestine solidarity movement extends into other countries within our region (including Zimbabwe, Swaziland, Botswana, Namibia, Lesotho, Mozambique, Tanzania and others). These countries are now, some for first time, hosting #IsraeliApartheidWeek and Palestine solidarity events.

———- * ———-

Kaunda’s trademark white handkerchief 

Kenneth Kaunda, one of our continent’s best known leaders, has explained that his commitment to his people and inspiration for advancing the various causes of the African continent is borne out of his “love for humankind as a whole”. When delivering his speeches he always carries a freshly ironed white linen handkerchief in his left hand. In an unapologetically human way, he frequently and freely weeps into it when speaking about the tribulations of Africa at the hands of imperialism, racism and colonialism. Kaunda, a devout Christian, provided resources, training camps, diplomatic support and other forms of solidarity to all of our African liberation struggles. As children of the African continent we owe our existence to those who came before us, among them, our dearest father, Dr Kenneth “KK” Kaunda.


+27 (0) 61 414 6348