The Sunday Mail
Founding fathers of Africa attach a unique characteristic on the continent and beyond.
They were bound within a common intellectual movement to fight oppression and encourage bonds of solidarity among all people of African descent.
Like Tanzania’s Julius Nyerere, Ethiopia’s Haile Selassie and Ghana’s Kwame Nkrumah; former Zambian President Dr Kenneth Kaunda’s DNA and Pan-Africanism are inseparable.
This element seems to be embodied within the name, affectionately referred to as KK by those close to him, or them!
There is Dr Kaunda, the founding father of Zambia, who is renowned for breaking the chains of bondage in the Southern African nation.
He tirelessly fought against colonial rule and his stance saw him spend some years in prisons, some of them in the then Southern Rhodesia.
And then there is Kenneth Kaunda Patsika (50), son to resolute nationalist and the late Egypt Zvondai Patsika, who spent years at a wildlife-infested Restriction Camp in Gokwe.
The younger Kaunda was named KK after his father had spent nine months in the same cell with Dr Kaunda at Khami Prison in Bulawayo back in 1959.
Although the younger KK has been hounded out of politics by the atrocities he witnessed during the liberation struggle in 1978 in Chikomba District, he still speaks like a politician.
He speaks authoritatively and stands out like the former Zambian president.
“What our fathers and forefathers were fighting for was very important,” he said.
“Now that we acquired independence we must not lose what we gained.
“We are in a new dispensation now and fighting is no longer an option. We need to be masters of our own destiny and build this nation.”
When he reflects on the young “born free” generation that has been gullible in being hoodwinked into creating unnecessary political turmoil, the young KK preaches peace, tolerance and national unity.
“A day in war is more than enough to destroy everything. Hondo yakapisa paNjanja apa in 1978 and to this day I’m still traumatised,” he recounted during an interview with The Sunday Mail.
Being a Grade 5 pupil at the time, KK narrated an episode in which a cell chairman within Ndabaningi Sithole’s establishment was abducted by the Zanla forces after selling out.
“Teachers were awakened during the night and they watched as the chairman was taken away,” he recalled.
“The following day there was a very sombre atmosphere at the school.
“A month later, more horror was to come. Sithole’s fighters came to the school seeking revenge. We watched in shame as teachers and villagers were stripped naked and thoroughly beaten from around 10am to around 3pm.
“Sithole’s fighters were demanding information on their chairman.
“Their intention was to kill. We were only saved by some gunshots that came from a distance.”
Bearing such a name — KK — one can only imagine what could have been going through the young man’s head as the war intensified.
His sister, Tsungai Mukamuri, explained: “That name was dangerous and we all knew it. You would not call him Kenneth Kaunda during such episodes or during the presence of unfamiliar people.”
And therefore his family and relatives would switch to Kenneth Mudiwa when Kaunda was too hot to handle.
Because of that, when it came to acquiring his birth certificate, Kenneth’s parents agreed that the name would put the entire family on Smith regime’s spotlight.
Instead, the resolute young man was registered Kenneth Mudiwa Patsika.
“Our father had planted seeds of nationalism within us very early in life and we were quite aware of our rights and need for economic and political freedom,” Kaunda’s sister explained.
“While bhudhi bore the name of the then Zambian president; we had a white dog named Smith,” she added as the whole family burst into laughter.
Gogo Diana Patsika narrated that her husband, a chairman of the African National Congress in Marondera at the time, spent close to a year in prison with Dr Kaunda.
“My husband was abducted by four white police officers during the night on 26 February, 1959. I had no clue where they had taken him and was terrified,” she said.
“Together with other women in the same predicament, we travelled to Harare the following morning to look for our husbands.
“I was six months pregnant at the time and we walked from the railway station to Kentucky prison in search of them.
“While the other ladies got lucky, my husband was not there and therefore I walked again to the maximum security prison, still no luck.”
Now dejected, Gogo Patsika travelled back to Marondera and had to wait for four months before her husband could write a letter informing her that he was at Khami Prison.
She had no clue that beautiful history was in the making despite the pain she felt inside.
Patsika Senior was later to recount that during those solitary moments with Dr Kaunda, he got the opportunity to converse widely with the revered nationalist on issues of the liberation struggle.
They would also play tsoro. Sometimes, Patsika claimed he would beat Dr Kaunda at the game.
“They must have shared something very special behind those walls because my husband would always speak highly of Dr Kaunda; he was a source of inspiration to him.
In 1966 I was therefore not surprised when my husband decided to name our little boy after Kaunda,” said Gogo Patsika
And now all Gogo Patsika wishes for is to share her husband’s pictures with Dr Kaunda. Her son is a married financial advisor with four children.