President Kenneth David Kaunda is currently the Balfour African president in residence at Boston University’s African Presidential Archives and Research Center. Kaunda led Zambia to independence and served as the first President of the Republic of Zambia from 1964 to 1991.
Formerly an educator, Kaunda began his political career as the founder and Secretary of the Lubwa Branch of the African National Congress (ANC) in 1950. He held various positions until 1953. Kaunda then became Secretary General of the Northern Rhodesia African National Congress.
In 1958, Kaunda formed the Zambian African National Congress, of which he subsequently became president. In 1960, Kaunda became president of the United National Independence Party (UNIP), a post he held until 1962, and again from 1995 to 2000. With the development of a new constitution, and the advent of Zambia’s first black government in 1962, Kaunda became Minister of Local Government and Social Welfare from 1962 to 1964 and Prime Minister of Northern Rhodesia from January to October 1964, when he was elected President of the Republic.
In addition to his efforts in Zambia, Kaunda was in the forefront of the efforts to liberate all of Africa, serving as the president of the Pan-African Freedom Movement for East, Central and Southern Africa (Pafmesca) in 1962 and as chairman of the Organization of African Unity (OAU) from 1970 to 1973. Kaunda also played key roles in the mitigation of territorial disputes between Kenya and Somalia and the liberation movements in Angola, Mozambique, Namibia, Zimbabwe and South Africa.
In 1992, Kaunda founded the Kenneth Kaunda Peace Foundation, dedicated to the establishment of peace and conflict resolution on the continent. Kaunda is now devoting his life to fighting HIV/AIDS and poverty in Africa.