Mama Betty Kaunda remembered

Dr Kenneth Kaunda with his Late wife Mam Betty

WHAT was expected to be a solemn event, held in a sombre atmosphere, turned out to be a cosy affair as the Kaundas yesterday poured out fond memories of Mama Betty Kaund, whom they described as a God-fearing and adored unifying pillar.
Ordinary memorial services usually evoke sorrow and gloom characterised by wailing for the deceased but this one held for Mama Betty at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross was simply different- everyone present, including President Sata, wore plain smiles as they listened to tributes paid to the gallant woman, who died on September 19, 2012 at 84- barely two months after celebrating 66 years of marriage to Dr Kenneth Kaunda.
“That girl, she was a great girl. She looked after us very well, so my dear girl, rest in peace. The good Lord Almighty brought you here to do the good things you did. We came to State House in difficult times, complicated times, but you were there to lead us, to feed us well in an amazing way. You received guests from overseas in a wonderful way. You went through many complicated issues but you performed extremely well.
“I am a very proud husband and a proud father because of her. Let the rest of your children in Zambia look after their families as you did. Please young people of today beat our record in marriage because 66 years is not a joke,” Dr Kaunda said.
He also took time to recount how President Sata’s father played a ‘go-between’ role in his marriage to Mama Betty.
Dr Kaunda explained that he first met Mama Betty in Chinsali, his birth place, when she was very young. He said later her parents relocated to Mpika, where she grew up together with Mr Sata but his mother continued checking on Mama Betty until she grew up.
“When my mother decided that this girl must be mine, we had a messenger to deliver the message. The father of this young man called Michael Chilufya Sata did that job for me. He went to deliver that message and her parents agreed, so the linkage [Mr Sata’s] with us is real. To bring us together in a marriage is not a joke, it is big job.
“So Mr President, I am thanking you publicly for your father’s work to bring me to my wife. Uleumfwa Betty [are you listening Betty],” Dr Kaunda said as he pointed to Mama Betty’s huge portrait mounted next to the pulpit.
He further remembered how Mama Betty sacrificed for the family when he was fighting political battles with colonial masters, saying at one time when he was jailed,she turned to charcoal burning to provide for the family.
Others who paid glowing tribute to Mama Betty were Dr Waza Kaunda (son), Rebecca Kaunda (granddaughter), and Mrs Veria Kalulu (sister).
The event was attended by various dignitaries, including former UNIP secretary general Grey Zulu, NAREP president Elias Chipimo, Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly Mkhondo Lungu, former First Lady Maureen Mwanawasa, various cabinet and deputy ministers, and diplomats accredited to Zambia.