Zambia’s government has announced that the funeral service and burial for founding President Kenneth Kaunda will take place next month. The 97-year-old died from pneumonia last week in a Lusaka hospital.
The 21 days mourning period, which began on Thursday, will include Kaunda’s body traveling across the country and lying in state in all provinces.
The Zambian government says the remains of Kaunda will travel to all provinces in a farewell procession from 23 June to 5 July. Citizens will be allowed to view his body in each provincial capital as he lies in state.
An official state funeral will be held on 2 July at the Heroes Stadium in Lusaka.
International dignitaries will be allowed to attend the funeral. A private burial is scheduled for 7 July and will be attended by his family and invited guests only.
Kaunda led Zambia into independence from Britain, ruling the country from 1964 until 1991. He was also instrumental in assisting other Southern African countries gain independence from minority rule.
Former President Thabo Mbeki has described Kaunda as one of the architects of South Africa’s democracy. When the African National Congress was banned by the apartheid government, Kaunda allowed the party to have its headquarters in the Zambian capital Lusaka.
Mbeki says ‘KK’, as he was affectionately known, was dedicated to the country’s liberation that he would even engage the apartheid leaders in hopes of reaching an amicable solution.