ONE of Zambia’s most celebrated veteran freedom fighters, Chibesa Kankasa fondly known as ‘Mama Kankasa’, has died in Johannesburg South Africa after an illness. She was 82.
Chief Government spokesperson Dora Siliya said Government was greatly saddened by the passing on of Mama Kankasa,
Patriotic Front secretary general Davis Mwila said the ruling party received the news of Mama Kankasas’ death with extreme shock and profound sadness, especially that her demise was only a few days after Zambia celebrated its 54th Independence day – a day whose origins and cause she significantly contributed to.
Ms Siliya said Zambia would always appreciate the role Ms Kankasa played before and after independence and would be forever indebted to her services.
She said Mama Kankasa was not only a young female freedom fighter when Zambia fought for independence, but was a charismatic fighter for the rights of women and children.
Mama Kankasa was the first female member of the Central Committee and chairperson of the Women’s League of the then ruling party who offered distinguished service to her party UNIP and was an icon to many young female politicians, Ms Siliya said.
She said Mama Kankasa worked with former first lady Betty Kaunda and Ms Julia Chikamoneka during the freedom struggle and was the first Zambian High Commissioner to Kenya after independence.
“Mama Kankasa died yesterday at 10:30 hours in Avrwyp Hospital in Johannesburg, South Africa where she had been receiving treatment after being evacuated there on October 6, 2018.
Government will announce the dates for repatriation of the remains of the UNIP stalwart and funeral arrangements in due course,” Ms Siliya said.
And Mr Mwila said the late Mama Kankasa was one of the significant firebrands of Zambia’s independence struggle and a matriarch whose wise counsel and encouraging demeanor shall be missed.
Mama Kankasa was born on 23 March 1936 and joined politics at a tender age of 19. She married Mr Timothy Kankasa in 1952 and went on to become one of the most known female politicians in Zambia.