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Monday, May 25, 2020

Why is there no Movie about Zambia’s founding President Kenneth Kaunda

Columns Why is there no Movie about Zambia's founding President Kenneth Kaunda

President Edgar Lungu, President Jacob Zuma and the First Ladies and Zambia's First President Dr. Kenneth Kaunda at the National Heritage site of Oliver Tambo House situated in Chelston Lusaka.
President Edgar Lungu, President Jacob Zuma and the First Ladies and Zambia’s First President Dr. Kenneth Kaunda at the National Heritage site of Oliver Tambo House situated in Chelston Lusaka.

By Kellys Kaunda

“There are several movies based on SA’s Nelson Mandela & I have just seen another on Botswana’s Sir Seretse Khama. Why is there not a movie on our own Dr Kenneth Kaunda?”

This is the question posed by Meluse Kapatamoyo on her Facebook page on Sunday, the 22nd of October 2017. From the long list of comments, it was clear to me that this was a subject so many people are interested in. I decided to continue this discussion on my page so that those of you that may not be her friend may have the opportunity to weigh in on the topic.

One day President Edgar Lungu stood over the grave of the late Paul Mushindo in Chinsali, the burial grounds for the parents of former President Kenneth Kaunda. With Kaunda standing by his side, I noticed he was about to speak. I quickly took a vantage position across the grave opposite him and pointed my camera in his direction. “The man that lies here was an educationist in his own right and a major figure in the building of this nation. I do not know why you colleagues in the media have not given people like him their rightful place in the history of this country. On my part, I will continue to speak about people like him so that we honor them in the manner they deserve”.

Those words by the President touched a special part of my soul and the whole of that afternoon they were running through my mind. That evening, I had the privilege of joining other people for dinner with him at the Tazara guesthouse. The evening was relaxed and the conversations across the dinner table dispensed with the protocols that would ordinarily deter one from saying anything in the presence of the Head of State. Jokes were made and everyone laughed, the President included. For a moment, I felt the freedom everyone felt to say what was in their mind.

I reminded everyone, especially the President of his remarks at the graveyard especially about Paul Mushindo. “Your Excellency, with a well developed movie industry supported by government policy, legislation and an institutional framework as it is in other countries, we can tell the stories of our historical figures”, I said. The President jumped in immediately and asked when the draft policy on film that he had talked about at one Multichoice function was going to be brought to him!

That film policy has now been passed and its implementation is actively underway. In South Africa, film has popularized that country’s iconic figures such as Nelson Mandela, Steve Biko, Chris Hani, Winnie Mandela and many more. The movies have been done by film companies in the US and the UK with well known stars playing South Africa’s freedom struggle Stewarts. From a marketing standpoint, it made sense that the movies are done by big film companies and roles played by already established names in the movie industry. These movies have helped South Africa’s tourism industry as more and more tourists want to see the places shown in the movies and others wanted to meet Mandela when he was alive.

Why not a movie on Kaunda? I once posed this question to Dr. Vernon Johnson Mwaanga when I went to his home sharing with him my desires to go to Glasgow University and study for an MSc in Filmmaking. He told me that an international film company had once come to Zambia in the 70s with a proposal to the Zambian government to shoot a movie on Kaunda and the country’s role in the liberation movement. The company wanted government or Zambians to buy a stake in the production so that costs are shared. However, Dr. Mwaanga said Zambia was unable to raise this sum and the company decided to go to East Africa, Kenya in particular where it found partners who eagerly put in the money to tell a story that was essentially a Southern African story but set in East Africa!

Whatever one may say about the Kaunda legacy, his is a bankable film project waiting to be told. Using the South African model, the film could help the Zambian film industry and the tourist flows could improve tremendously. We have a huge opportunity with the film policy in place to change the film industry in Zambia and fulfill government’s desire to tell our own stories using a medium that has proved so effective in modern times.

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    • If you are into horror stories and are not squeamish then you might be interested in a KK movie. Then man is a colossal failure and no wonder there is no documentary about him. He was a brutal dictator who tyrannized our country and kept all of us in abject fear of him. There’s nothing nice to say about him.

    • Shut the heck up. I would spit on you if you where near me. Super ken has done a lot for Africa as a whole than you and a thousand of your abominable cronies will ever do for another human being. He may have had his own ills but give credit were it is due. He is in the same league as Kwame, Mandela, Fela kuti and all those renowned freedom fighters. He aided the liberation of a lot of African countries. He is highly respected and valued all over the world. One of the few world leaders that stood and spoke against George Bush right there in America about their attack on Afghanistan and Iraq. Do you know what you are saying you ignorant Mofo? Be quiet if you don’t know your history. Even the good book says give to ceaser what belongs to ceaser

    • Dundumwezi Solwe Solwe
      And you claim to read?Your friends are right.While KK went out of his way to make himself an African hero by championing freedom of other countries he was enslaving and mistreating his own people.Some died you ignorant man.As you claim to read there is a book by Muna Ndulo and John Hatchard used in Constitutional law and am sure now in Human Rights Law.Go read this book.I have no problem so long as any film about him tells the real story.Am sure that is why there is no movie about him.Any self respecting movie producer cant see any value in such a project.People out there are not interested in lies they would rather the truth is told,but people like you and this over excited newly appointed Ambassador want to create a film full of lies.Lies dont sell ask Anthony…

    • Will the part where he blasphemied show? I.e. when speaking about his new found love of maharishi heaven on earth, he once asked..”who is this God, because I’m sure that before I was born I was there!”. ZNBC should not destroy captions where the man had become grandiose and believed that he was turning into God. These captions should also be used an any horror movie you people are discussing.

    • Question: Why is there no movie about Kenneth Kaunda, Zambia’s 1st president?

      Answer:Because there’s no movie.

  1. To make a film about super Ken one must be honest and show his attributes and faults. The man accomplished a lot but also messed up a lot. But such is life “who among you is perfect? If any of you are perfect then be the first to cast a stone”.

    Super Ken tried to make Zambia great, yes there were mistakes but this man truelly loved Zambia. Karma had already dealt him a heavy hand, with his treatment. imprisonment at the hands of the Chiluba regime and subsequent loss of his favourite son Major Wezi- that I believe was the most painful experience of all.

    The man has lived a very interesting life and yes a movie should be made!

    • I know one Zambian who wanted to make a documentary of KK and Nkumbula. KK turned down the opportunity and the Film Maker ended up with a documentary of Harry M. Nkumbula which aired on Fresh View Cinema last year.

    • Which African President lost power through elections? Only Kaunda. All Dictators refuse to allow the ballot to defeat them. Just check your two neighbours one South of the Zambezi and the other North of the Copperbelt. And one even further North in Kampala. They all refuse to leave office. Kaunda left office without fear of any stolen wealth being discovered once he was out of power. He wasnt perfect but very few political leaders measure up to him.

  2. Its better to make it 25yrs after he’s gone that way there’ll be no undue influence ,there’ll be newly declassified content and a dispassionate movie director to potray the raw truth.

    • Better to make it now while the old man himself is still alive so that he’s able to correct where some points could be missed

  3. Why complain. Simply make the movie yourself and move on. Why do you want to give responsibilities to other people, you have an idea, so actualise it. Why are you being lazy, is it because we are in a talking republic

  4. There should be a movie by freedom fighters.KK was just a driver who messed up and pushed his friends to oblivion.This time around he has become a hero.Those of us who grew up in KK’s era can attest to the fact that the man was so cruel and diabolical.

    • Most freedom fighters turned leaders of nations have been cruel and diabolical because they know the language of force. They are good influencers of change but rarely make good leaders. their view of the world is warped and one sided. That’s the difference between a leader and a manager.

    • @ mbaluso..do you remember free education, free school supplies, free medicine? Do you remember the sanctions by south Africa? Do you remember the bombings of infrastructure by Smith? Sure the man was not perfect but he did his best for the country and whole region.

  5. It depends what movie you want…if you want the brutal truth, I dont think you would like it as KK was a dictator!!

    • we know that already. but every story has two sides. show both. after all don’t all human beings have two dimensions?

  6. Skeletons will come out, among them, betrayal of the people of Barotseland, which may have included disappearances.
    that is why this man never won a nobel prize

    • The people of Barotseland had betrayed the people of Zambia way before super ken betrayed them. You played partners of the imperialists and help them achieve colonization. Problem is you thought you were clever and thought you would get a sweet deal out of it after being the vehicle that helped establish colonization of northern Rhodesia. Tough luck. You deserve all you got and more from super ken. No sympathy here..

  7. I would love to watch such a movie since I was born that same Independence year, but little is being said in history books to portray what’s gone right or wrong along the way… The KK movie, if honestly scripted will answer some of the questions that have boggled my mind since my birthday!!

  8. Kellys Kaunda, please do some research before you write these insights of yours. There already is a movie about KK, just download The Terminator.

  9. Kellys Kaunda just make one since you are the person with passion. Asking such questions and writing articles is not making a movie. Put your pen to paper and write the script and move on. You are at a vantage point now to do so and don’t wait another day. If you have hears, we will see the move next year or so

  10. Mailon don’t be repugnant. I did not claim he was innocent but to forget the good that he has done is wrong. No one is a saint. We are human and so is he. Despite his flaws he still did a whole lot of good. MR making references to Authors. Point me to one president who has not had any irregularities in the tenure… power corrupts and his atrocities are many because he stayed in power for so long. That’s why presidency in a democracy is generally limited. We should not be Human beings that dwell on unforgiveness. problem is people want to create saints out of heroes. They rarely are saints most of them have done unthinkable things, but we never wana hear them. Do justice to him and make a movie that tells both sides. The good and the bad.

  11. Will the part where he blasphemied show? I.e. when speaking about his new found love of maharishi heaven on earth, he once asked..”who is this God, because I’m sure that before I was born I was there!”. ZNBC should not destroy captions where the man had become grandiose and believed that he was turning into God. These captions should also be used an any horror movie you people are discussing.


  13. You will not believe it but this has been on my mind too for a long time. Yes a movie about Zambia’s founding president would be a good one and is a very good idea. A Movie about Kaunda would add to the list of movies about Africa’s culture, struggles and independence. Just like Mandela’s and Khama’s movie have added to the debate about Africa or given Africa a different perspective out there, Kaunda’s would be a good one to make. There have been others that have been made that have added to the Africa’s discussion such as Shaka Zulu and Lumumba. A warning though, let a serious Director and Producer produce this Movie, not any fly by night imitators. Let it not be in the lines of Nollywood Movies. Kaunda is a serious character and subject that requires a serious manuscript and a…

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