The First Time I Ever Met ‘The Dictator’

The easiest way to become a legend is through sport. Beside the doping scandals here and there, sport legends are loved for a lifetime. In politics, however, it is a whole new situation. Your fan-base remains divided, no matter how much good you do. You are either loved or hated and so it remains even after they die.

Growing up, the adults around me spoke of him very often. Some said that during his time, people who had qualms with him disappeared. Some said, during his rule, his countrymen generally lived best and citizens that existed even after his rule owed everything to the man that built their foundation.

They say his twenty-seven year rule was the downfall of his country. They said that he was a selfish man, who had his fun whilst in power until he was pushed off the throne. Apparently, he gave away all the countrymen had. In nationalising everything, he gave inadequate people big companies to run. He left his country to rot in poverty while other countries and the politicians that came after got rich off the sale of the state-owned companies that he left after 27 years, all in the name of privatisation.

Seeing as views were biased, I decided to research this man with the help of history books. Wow! Views truly vary. South Africans praised him, Zimbabweans praised him and so did the Namibians, Malawians, Batswana and even the Angolans! All but Zambians seemed to picture an angel when this man’s name came up anywhere. That was then. Things have changed now.

When you hear the word ‘dictator’, you expect a man that looks like Idi Amin maybe. A face that exudes total cruelty and a presence that demanded your fear! I got none of that when I visited the home of the man so many people spoke ill of. I met this old man with a limp, gleaming as he saw my father. “My son!”, he exclaimed.

I felt no sudden race in my heart, no fear to approach him, no lump in my throat… This old man looked so humble, limping towards us with a huge smile and his white handkerchief in hand. So fragile! All I wanted to do was hug him! And I did. This is an account of the first time I met my grandpa, founding father of Zambia. Dr. Kenneth Kaunda.

Yours truly,
posted from WordPress for BlackBerry.

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