By Steve Ephraem
In the early eighties, my parents owned a Supersonic 5 Band radio with an automatic record player. They would play latest Kalindura and rhumba music from Zambia especially that of Nashil Pishen Kazembe which came on vinyl as Long Play (LP) and 7 inch singles.
I still remember some hits by Nashil Pishen Kazembe like Aphiri Anabwela (which was banned on airplay in Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe), Peace work, Vamahala vinatha and Shauri yako.
During Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation’s evening news slots, my parents would make sure that they switched to Short Wave Band and listen to the latest news in ChiBemba and ChiNyanja so that they would keep updated on events back home.
The Zambia radio stations would repeat a slogan, “One Zambia, One Nation” after each news bulletin. As kids, the slogan also became our favourite phrase.
The propagandist who introduced that term knew very well how it would impact on people within Zambia and outside the borders. To us, Zambia became one of our dream countries.
I still remember how the propaganda was always on the lips of fellow Zambians who visited our home. After formal greetings, they would chant that slogan, “One Zambia, One Nation” together with my parents and we would follow suit in a happy mood.
That was Kenneth Kaunda’s propaganda during his reign as president of Zambia.
Kenneth Kaunda, affectionately known as KK, died yesterday (17 June 2021) aged 97 years after battling with pneumonia in his last days. He was the founding president of independence Zambia when the former British colony gained freedom in 1964.
Before its independence, Zambia had been part of the British Federation which saw it named Northern Rhodesia, Malawi christened Nyasaland and Zimbabwe referred to as Southern Rhodesia.
In 1972, KK imposed a one party state rule and in 1973, he introduced a new constitution which saw Zambia becoming a one party state under his United National Independence Party (UNIP).
In 1990, KK allowed a multiparty system which saw him being toppled in the general elections of 1991. Up until 2000, KK was still the leader of UNIP and tried his hand on re-election.
During his rule, KK was famed for supporting revolutionaries from South Africa and Southern Rhodesia in their bid to gain independence. His efforts saw Zimbabwe gain freedom in 1980 and South Africa in 1994.
The dark wave during his rule came in the 1980s when Zambia’s currency, Kwacha suffered inflation after copper prices fell on the world market. KK had nationalised all the copper mines in 1974 and the mineral was Zambia’s main export.
The death of Kaunda was regarded as a blow to Southern Africa’s elder statesmen.