In a significant gesture during the 60th Anniversary celebrations of the OAU-AU held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, the African Union (AU) posthumously recognized Mama Betty Kaunda, the late wife of Zambia’s Founding President Dr. Kenneth Kaunda, as a distinguished Freedom Activist and Founder member of the Pan African Women’s Organization. Mama Betty’s recognition sheds light on the often-overlooked contributions of women freedom fighters.
A remarkable moment occurred as Mama Betty’s photograph was displayed on the wall of fame, alongside other prominent individuals who played pivotal roles in Africa’s liberation struggle. The display in the main hall showcased images of the thirty-two founding members who signed the OAU Charter on May 25, 1963.
Mr. Trevor Sichombo, the Charge d’ Affaires at the Zambia Embassy in Ethiopia, expressed gratitude to the African Union for acknowledging Mama Betty’s significant role in the liberation struggle. Sichombo stressed the importance of accurately recording history, ensuring that the names of great heroes, such as Mama Betty, are not forgotten or lost to oblivion. He further urged for the continuation of their work to achieve the Africa they envisioned.
Highlighting the importance of honoring the sacrifices made by leaders for Africa’s liberation, His Excellency Moussa Faki Mahamat, Chairperson of the AU, emphasized the need for maintaining peace on the continent. Mahamat underlined the relentless efforts made by fallen heroes to secure peace and prosperity for Africa. Additionally, he called for greater economic independence, urging African nations to reduce their dependence on foreign aid. Mahamat expressed concern over the burden of debt faced by African countries, emphasizing the urgency of addressing this issue.
Echoing similar sentiments, Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed stressed that Africa cannot claim to be independent while its people continue to grapple with poverty. Despite the continent’s abundant natural resources, Prime Minister Ahmed lamented Africa’s persistent state of poverty. He urged the African Union to establish a continental media house to counter negative reporting by Western media, advocating for a more balanced representation of Africa’s accomplishments and challenges.
The African Union’s recognition of Mama Betty Kaunda highlights the invaluable contributions of women in the fight for freedom and unity in Africa. As the continent moves forward, it is essential to honor and remember the individuals who played pivotal roles in shaping its history, ensuring their legacies endure and inspire future generations.