The late Kenneth Kaunda was a lot of things. He was one of the fiercest fighters for the independence of Zambia, the first president of Zambia, and a trained teacher.
Besides being the founding father of the nation, the late Kenneth Kaunda, who was also affectionately known as KK was a family man.
Kaunda was married to the same woman since the 1940s and the two stuck with each other through thick and thin, jail term and presidency, and continued to thrive together even after retirement.
Here is everything you need to know about Kenneth Kaunda’s wife, mother of his children, first lady, and life partner.
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Who was Kenneth Kaunda’s wife?
Beatrice Kaweche Banda, also affectionately known as Mama Betty Kaunda or Mama Zambia, was Kenneth Kaunda’s wife and companion of close to seven decades.
Like the late Kenneth Kaunda, Betty was also a teacher by profession. Born on the 17th of November 1928 in Mpika town, the late Bety Kaunda studied at Mbereshi Girls before proceeding to Mindolo Ecumenical Foundation’s Women’s programme.
After completing her education, Betty Kaunda worked as a teacher at Mufulira where her future husband was also a teacher.
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Kenneth Kaunda’s wife as the first lady of Zambia
After Zambia gained its independence from colonial rule in 1964 and Kenneth Kaunda was elected as its first president, Betty Kaunda became the first lady of Zambia.
According to political commentators, Betty Kaunda led a very simple life even after becoming the first lady. She did not care much for the luxuries that came with the position and she often dressed in the traditional chitenge clothes.
She was involved in various diplomatic visits and activities and was known for criticizing alcoholism in society and promoting the preservation of Zambian culture.
Her reign as the first lady of Zambia ended on 2 November 1991 after Frederick Chiluba took over as the president of Zambia. Mama Betty Kaunda was succeeded by Vera Tembo as the first lady of Zambia.
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Kenneth Kaunda’s marriage
The late Kenneth Kaunda and Betty Kaunda got married in 1946. In a past interview with ZNBC Television, Zambia’s first head of state revealed that he did not court Betty before marriage and that the first time he went to visit her, he decided to marry her.
In their 66 years of marriage, the Kaundas were blessed with ten children. Two of their sons, unfortunately, passed on at a young age. Masuzgo Gwebe Kaunda died in December 1986 following HIV/AIDs related complications and Major Wezi Kaunda was shot dead in 1999.
Kenneth Kaunda and his wife were one of the first and most active champions in the fight against HIV/AIDS in Africa.
Kenneth Kaunda’s wife stayed by his side until death did them part in 2012 when Betty Kaunda who was 83 years old at the time, passed away on 19 September 2012 while visiting their daughter in Harare, Zimbabwe. Her death came in barely a month after the couple celebrated their 66th wedding anniversary.
Nine years after his wife’s death, Kenneth Kaunda also rested. The former head of state passed on on the 17th of June 2021 at the ripe age of 97 years.
The Kaundas left behind eight children including Tilyenji Banda, 30 grandchildren, and eleven great-grandchildren.
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