Waving a white handkerchief, octogenarian politician and founding President of Zambia, Dr. Kenneth Kaunda on Sunday evening sang his heart out to the African liberation struggle which he gleefully participated.
He scurried to and from the podium from the high table where his host, President Atta Mills and Senegal President Abdoulaye Wade and officials from the African Union sat. He had accepted the challenge to sing an ode.
Africa was remembering Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, the founder of modern Ghana and a strong advocate of her cause.
It was not the hot shouts in 1987 when he was in Ghana to deliver a lecture. Grandpa Kaunda, affectionately called KK sang softly but gallantly as the audience joined in refrain and applause in remembrance of the years spent fighting for the independence of African countries.
With a soft voice, Dr. Kaunda sang “Sons of Africa” and” Rise and Fight”, waving his usual white handkerchief, perhaps symbol of the success of the African struggle, thanking President Mills for honouring and reviving the legacy of Dr. Nkrumah.
The occasion was the launching of the three-day Kwame Nkrumah Centenary Colloquium performed by Ghana’s President Atta Mills, and it formed the final part of the year-long celebration and would also climax on May 25, the African Liberation Day.
Performed at the Accra International Conference Centre, the opening ceremony was prefaced with recorded speeches of the Osagyefo, and went down memory lane with scintillating music reminiscent of the late highlife musician E. T. Mensah.
In a display of conducting skills and antics, the leader of the Winneba Youth Choir paddled and rowed the Choir as the youngsters sang the African Union and Ghana National Anthems, with an addendum from the Ghana Dance Ensemble that “livened” the place with traditional cultural and linguistic performances.
Dr. Kaunda, still physically strong despite his advanced age, advised the youth against HIV/AIDS, a disease which he said had claimed a son, and gave him and his wife five fatherless children to care for.
As the “foremost youth of Africa”, Dr, Kaunda said, Nkrumah would have made the issue very prominent and called for political will and commitment across Africa in addressing HIV/AIDS.
Later at a dinner at the State House, Dr. Kaunda, former Choirmaster at a Church of Central Africa Congregation, again stole the show as he solely went on the floor and did the jig to the admiration of the audience when Ken Carbonu and his band played music calypso style.
It was a day that Mr. Erastus Mwencha called for peace to be given a chance in some parts of the Continent which had been ravaged by civil strife and armed conflicts.
“There should be no quarrels, no conflicts and our prayer is that guns will be silent on that day”, a day when Africans remember a man who gave them a vision to behold.