Former Zambian President Kenneth Kaunda has received the 2012 Mahatma Gandhi International Award for Peace and Reconciliation from the Gandhi Development Trust (GDT) in South Africa.
Kaunda was awarded by Gandhi’s granddaughter Ela Gandhi in recognition of his decades-long work in recognition of his decades-long work in fighting oppression in both Zambia, which was formerly the British colony of Northern Rhodesia, and South Africa.
“My colleagues and I who were involved in the freedom struggle, remained faithful to the Gandhian teachings,” Kaunda said as he burst into a freedom song while accepting his award in Durban on Wednesday evening.
Ela Gandhi said: “Non-violence and peace is today the most valuable commodity for human survival. The presentation of these awards must help people all over the world to embrace the path of nonviolence.”
Kaunda lost his wife earlier in the day.
In addition, South Africa’s liberation stalwarts were honoured with the Mahatma Gandhi Satyagraha Award. Among them were, Reverend Susan Britton, Mewa Ramgobin, Justice Zak Yacoob and Denis Goldberg.
“I’ve not wanted high political office, I was assured that I could have it if I wanted it but I wasn’t in the struggle for my benefit, I was in the struggle for equality, for humanity,” said Rivonia trialist Goldberg
The first president of the ANC John Dube and Black Consciousness activist Steve Biko were also honoured. Steve Biko’s son Samora Biko sauid, “As Biko himself prophetically said: it is better to die for an idea that will live than to live for an idea that will die and tonight as we remember the contributions of Kaunda, Biko, Gandhi and so many other freedom fighters, the truth of his words ring true.”