|First Lady of Zambia|
24 October 1964 – 2 November 1991
|Preceded by||Position created|
|Succeeded by||Vera Tembo|
November 17, 1928|
Chinsali, Northern Rhodesia
|Died||September 18, 2012
|Spouse(s)||Kenneth Kaunda (1946-2012; her death)|
Betty Kaunda, born Beatrice Kaweche Banda (17 November 1928 – 18 September 2012), was the wife of Zambia's first president Kenneth Kaunda, and the First Lady of Zambia from 1964 to 1991. She was locally called Mother of Zambia. Betty was born on 17 November 1928 to Kaweche Banda and Milika Sakala Banda at Mpika. She had her early education at Mbereshi Girls, underwent training at Mindolo Ecumenical Foundation’s Women’s programme and worked as a teacher in Mufulira. Betty was married to Dr. Kenneth Kaunda in 1946, who was involved in freedom struggle at the time and later went on to become the first President of independent Zambia. Betty was the strength behind Dr. Kuanda all through their 66 years of relationship.
As the First Lady, she was part of many diplomatic visits and matron of many organizations. As per political observers, she lead a very simple life as the First Lady. She authored her auto biography along with Stephen A. Mpashi during 1969. She was involved in many charitable initiatives and she received Indira Gandhi Non-violence award from UNIP for her efforts.
Betty was suffering from diabetes for many years and she died in the early hours on 18 September 2012 in Harare while visiting her daughter. She was 83 when she died and survived by her husband, eight children, 30 grandchildren and eleven great grandchildren. The whole nation mourned her death and she was given state respect being the First Lady of Zambia.
Betty was born on 17 November 1928 to Kaweche Banda and Milika Sakala Banda at Mpika. She had her education at Mbereshi Girls and later underwent training at Mindolo Ecumenical Foundation’s Women’s programme. She worked as a teacher in Mufulira. She was married to Dr. Kenneth Kaunda in 1946, who was involved in freedom struggle and later went on to become the first President of independent Zambia. In his own words in his book Letter to My Children, Betty was the strength behind him all through their 66 years of relationship as she took care of the children in his absence. The colonial administration sent Dr. Kaunda to jail and she took to charcoal burning to feed the family. She is believed received multiple threats and coercions during those days, but she never gave up to the threats. In her own words, "The colonial administrators threatened to send us back to the villages after our husbands were arrested, but we refused". She mentioned that the letters she received from her husband during those days were source of strength to her. He instructed her not to move from their house in Chilenje.
First Lady of Zambia
She was the First Lady of Zambia from October 1964 to November 1991. As the First Lady, she was part of many diplomatic visits and matron of many organizations. As per political observers, she lead a very simple life even after becoming the First Lady and never gave it to the luxuries of the position. She authored her auto biography along with Stephen A. Mpashi and the book was brought out during 1969. She wore chitenge suit and advised her fellow national women to wear decent dress and should avoid copying from foreign countries.
Dr. Kuanda and Betty were considered frontrunners in AIDS eradication in the country. Many scholars appreciated them for leading the way to allow them to be tested for HIV/AIDS and publish the results. She maintained calm during later struggles when her husband was imprisoned during the 1990s. She had been active in opposing the encouragement of political parties to offer beer to youths, reflecting thoughts of her husband who threatened to quit presidency on account of excessive drinking prevalent in the society. She was involved in collecting donations during a Copper mine accident, which left several killed. She received Indira Gandhi Non-violence award from UNIP for her efforts on non-violence and peace missions.
Betty was considered the national mother by Zambian citizens. Betty suffered from diabetes for many years. She died in the early hours of 19 September in Harare while visiting her daughter. Dr. Kaunda and the other family members left for Harare to receive her body. She was 83 when she died and survived by her husband, eight children, 30 grandchildren and eleven great grandchildren. The whole nation mourned her death and she was given state respect being the First Lady of Zambia. She followed Christianity and her final rites were performed based on Christian practices. The mass at the Cathedral of Holy Cross in Lusaka organized on 28 September on her memoir was attended by diplomats from other countries, state officials and thousands of Zambians. The government declared three days of national mourning, while the TV and radio stations played hymns dedicated to her during the morning and evening. Her burial was planned initially was Lubwa Mission, but was moved to the capital Lusaka on account of waning health of Dr. Kaunda.
- "Betty Kaunda dies". The Times of Zambia. 20 September 2012. Archived from the original on 18 December 2013. Retrieved 20 September 2012.
- "Zambians Mourn Death of Former First Lady Betty Kaunda". Voice of America. 20 September 2012. Retrieved 20 September 2012.
- "Mama Betty Kaunda dies". Lusaka Times. 19 September 2012. Retrieved 16 October 2016.
- "Betty Kaunda:Mother of Zamiba, heroine of the struggle dies". The Herald. 24 September 2012. Retrieved 16 October 2016.
- Kaunda, Betty; Mpashi, Stephen A. (1969). Betty Kaunda; wife of the President of the Republic of Zambia. Betty Kaunda, Stephen A. Mpashi.
- Hansen, Karen Tranberg (2000). Salaula: The World of Secondhand Clothing and Zambia. University of Chicago Press. p. 82. ISBN 9780226315812.
- DeRoche, Andy (2016). Kenneth Kaunda, the United States and Southern Africa. Bloomsbury Publishing. p. 214. ISBN 9781474267649.
- "Mama Betty Kaunda buried". Chronicle. 29 September 2012. Retrieved 16 October 2016.