US Senator for California Kamala Harris who has been chosen by Joe Biden as his Democratic vice-presidential candidate lived in Lusaka, Zambia at some point in her early life.
She is a daughter of an Indian-born mother and a Jamaican-born father.
Her mother, Shyamala Gopalan separated with her father, Donald Harris when Kamala Harris was five.
Raised primarily by her Hindu single mother, a cancer researcher and a civil rights activist, Kamala and her sister Maya, spent time in Zambia in the late 1960s.
Her grandfather, PV Gopalan, was a senior diplomat in the Indian government who lived in Zambia after it gained independence.
According to the Los Angelos Times, Kamala was five years when she lived in Zambia.
The Indian government had dispatched P.V. Gopalan to help Zambia manage an influx of refugees from Rhodesia — the former name of Zimbabwe — which had just declared independence from Britain.
It was the capstone of a four-decade career that began when Gopalan joined government service fresh out of college in the 1930s, in the final years of British rule in India.
It was also the start of a relationship that would define Harris’ life. Until his death in 1998, Gopalan remained from thousands of miles away a pen pal and guiding influence — accomplished, civic-minded, doting, playful — who helped kindle Harris’ interest in public service.
“My grandfather was really one of my favorite people in my world,” Harris, said in a recent interview.
She was 19, the eldest of their four children, and had never set foot outside India.
Her parents dug into Gopalan’s retirement savings to pay her tuition and living costs for the first year.
A few years later, Shyamala and Donald brought their daughters to Zambia. Kamala would have been 4 or 5 years old; Maya, two years younger, was still sleeping in a crib.
The young Kamala was oblivious to the intrigue swirling around her, with Gopalan’s government-issued car whisking him to meetings with Zambian officials and diplomats dropping by for visits.
What she remembers is the soil of Lusaka, rich with copper, which glowed a fiery red.
Bengali reported from New Delhi and Mason from Los Angeles.