FORMER President Kenneth Kaunda yesterday celebrated his 91st birthday with his family and Chinese Ambassador to Zambia Yang Youming.
And Chinese President Xi Jinping has described Dr Kaunda as a pillar of the Zambia-China friendship, which spans over 50 years.
Dr Kaunda, who repeatedly joked about his age, was presented with a cake from his family which he shared with his children, grandchildren, great grandchildren, in-laws and journalists after he was assisted to cut it by his grandchild.
“I am very grateful and humbled. Thank you, thank you very much,” he said.
Speaking on behalf of his family, Dr Kaunda’s son, Kaweche, said the family is grateful to God for giving them the former President, who has led an exemplary life.
Mr Kaunda said being members of Dr Kaunda’s family is a challenge because it is not easy to follow in the foot-steps of such a great man.
“God willing, we hope we can also live exemplary lives and equally as long as he [Dr Kaunda] has lived,” he said.
And President Xi, in a letter read by chief of political section at the Chinese Embassy Wan Nan Lin, said Dr Kaunda spearheaded the China-Zambia friendship that is still ongoing more than 50 years later.
He said Dr Kaunda promoted the friendship for the benefit of people.
“The Chinese people have utmost respect for Dr Kaunda and they are wishing him a heart-felt birthday and good health,” Mr Xi said.
Earlier, Mr Yang presented Dr Kaunda with a present, a recording of his party that the Chinese Embassy recently hosted in his honour.
“I hope the video reminds you of the good memories which you have of China,” he said.
Others who visited Dr Kaunda at his residence are United States (US) ambassador to Zambia Eric Schultz, Minister of Finance Alexander Chikwanda, USAID Zambia director Susan Brems, Higer Bus Company general manager Wu Ming and staff, Dr Roger Chongwe and Dr Simon Zukas.