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Alba Iulia
Thursday, October 14, 2021

KK a constant lighthouse to the people of Zambia and beyond-Former Personal Secretary

Headlines KK a constant lighthouse to the people of Zambia and beyond-Former Personal...

Zambia’s first Republican President, Dr. Kenneth Kaunda’s former Personal Secretary Gloria Sleep has sent a message of condolence to the family of Dr. Kaunda and Zambians at large.

According to a statement released to the media by Mrs Abigail Chaponda, First Secretary for Press and Public Relations
Zambia High Commission in the United Kingdom, Gloria Sleep described the late president as a great human being and a constant lighthouse to the people of Zambia and beyond.

In her tribute Ms. Sleep writes “He was a huge part of my life, and I will always hold a special place in my heart as I mourn with his family and all Zambians. While we mourn let us celebrate the life and achievements of this remarkable man.

I did not apply for the position as Secretary to President Kaunda. I had been Secretary to the outgoing Minister of Native Affairs in the Northern Rhodesian government but was on leave out of the country for some months until January 1964 when President Kaunda became Prime Minister. On my return I duly reported to the Establishment Officer in the Secretariat to be told that my new position would be Secretary to the Prime Minister. This was a senior position usually occupied by single ladies without family responsibilities, so I was rather surprised. When I first walked into his office, I was impressed by this man full of charm who radiated energy and enthusiasm which brushed off on all who met him.

It was an exciting time to be part of this team of his very loyal staff. We all had the utmost respect for him, and this was reciprocated in the way he treated us as his family with care and compassion. On one occasion at State House, I found the Private Secretary squatting on his knees with the telephone in his hand. When I asked him what he was doing he said he could never speak to the ‘old man’ without this token of respect even although he could not be seen. I feared his knees would wear out as he was responsible for calls throughout the day and night.

Gloria Sleep receiving an award from Dr. Kaunda
Gloria Sleep receiving an award from Dr. Kaunda

The President had a great capacity for work and would work long hours to get the job done if he had a speech to work on or any project or problem to be settled. He would often call on a staff member to do some research at any hour of the day when required and this would be done willingly and without complaint.

When we visited the UK on a State visit in 1983 at the banquet, he hosted in honour of the Queen he delighted all the guests with Tiyende Pamodzi. The Queen who was about to make a speech just threw up her hands and said, ‘How do I follow that?’

We spent some very happy days in Luangwa on working holidays. He wrote most of his major Party speeches there. No computers then. I typed everything on a manual typewriter under the trees with all the wildlife in view.

He was very loyal to all his old friends and even travelled to the UK to attend Reverend Merfyn Temple’s funeral where he entertained the local village people singing hymns and playing the piano before the service.

Recently one of the hymns in the service at my Church was ‘What a Friend we have in Jesus’. This hymn always brings a smile to my face as I remember KK sang this regularly as he walked into my office. Somebody who was involved in helping with agricultural programs all over the world paid tribute to him and wrote ‘I have encountered in my whole life only one Head of State who truly seeks to live as a Christian. He is an African, President Kaunda’.

I did not leave Zambia through my own choice, but I did continue with my work for him here in the UK. It was a privilege and honour to serve him. Some years ago, a speaker on BBC’s Thought for the day described how just a few people stand out as lighthouses. Philip Brownrigg, an old friend, then said ‘Such a one is Kenneth Kaunda, a great human being and a constant lighthouse to the people of Zambia and beyond”.

Gloria Sleep
Gloria Sleep

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17 COMMENTS

  1. My eyes are full of tears. This is a very touching piece. Thank you so much madam. You were privileged to have worked with such a great man. Amen. God bless you.

    I dedicate the song” lesa wamaka” to you. Amen

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  2. I mourn my president…

    It was an honour Mr president to have been educated by you…..for myself and many millions of Zambians.

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  3. Here is a muzungu who worked with Super for 27 unbroken service and kept all the state secrets to herself. Today how many can manage without leaking the info to friends and relatives even foreign elements.

  4. They called him Old Munshunfwa now they are tripping all over themselves to try and show how much they loved him…they called him names. Sponsored hired thugs to pelt his official car…they threw him in jail for trumped up charges…even searched his house for over 6 hours only to find two library books amongst his belongings and charged him with theft of public property…through all that he still managed to chuckle and smile..even when they refused to pension him or he was homeless even stateless…he never complained…they died before him

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  5. A good man is appreciated by any race and
    As he never saw race as a barrier.He had
    Zambians at heart and was always trying to
    Make life of zambians better.He will always
    Be remembered in world history of great leaders.

  6. The idea of One Party PARTICIPATORY democracy was novel and unique in the world, but the problem is that the boot licking and servile fearfulness and intolerance of Africans in general and Zambians in particular made PARTICIPATION impossible for those who held different views. KK could have served three terms only and handed over power in 1974 to someone else, but the boot lickers and hero worshippers kept persuading him to stay on and wanting to make him President for life. This was KK’s greatest failure in life. It was not the economic collapse, because that was really beyond his control, but failure to let go of the baton. A great man was stained because of bad advisers.

  7. Now compare KK to the thug/thief corrupt drunkard at state house.

    What eulogy will we get when he kicks the bucket. He was consumed with Jameson and stealing

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  8. Scouser even we have had enough of your f00Iish drunkard father who works as cleaner at state house. It is our president who continues to give him a chance. If it was me I would have fired your orangatun looking father. You motherfaka

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  9. Iwe KZ. The monkey has been rattled. The truth hurts about your corrupt drunkard boss.

    As for my father he has had a distinguished career in the civil service for ministry of justice in the UK.

    Unlike you feeding of proceeds of crime. No dignity no morals whatsoever. Just like your boss stealing is in your DNA. This is what happens when [email protected] are born from pr0stitutes

  10. Oh so even your imaginary dad was a slave there in diaspora? Or you mean the whlte man who adopted your poverty stricken backside. Kikiki

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  11. @Scouser, we don’t tolerate that kind of styupidity… When we say “fvcking PF”, we don’t have Ba Edgar in mind, so withdraw your insults.

  12. An eulogy with some information that wasn’t available to the public, this paints a picture of KK as man and a look at some of his daily activities.
    Well done Miss Sleep and well done to the Zambian High Commission in the UK. This was a read and a half.

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  13. God Bless HE Kaunda, such an Icon of Africa and Zambia. I just hope somewhere his legacy lives on “One Zambia One Nation”?? And hopefully all these tribal and political insults are put to an end. No matter what party wins this August election and Who becomes President for the good of the people and the Nation I hope and pray KK’s legacy lives on. A Christian,Politician,Family man with Zambia’s interest. Zambia you should be proud of this Icon and First President, live by his teaching and morals.I lived in Zambia many many years ago it’s a lovely country and the people are great, Be Proud, Stand and Sing of Zambia.

  14. A beautiful personal tribute from a foreign lady who served Zambia with impartial dedication. KK as a ruler made some serious mistakes, but he worked long hours even on holidays at Luangwa. His good humour and willingness to entertain people with conversation and song on solemn occasions should be noted. President Kaunda promoted understanding and respect among races and tribes. He tried so hard to persuade white rulers in South Africa to dismantle the apartheid system. In this matter he was on the right side of history. Zambian leaders today and in the future should work for the common good guided by the positive things that Kenneth Kaunda stood for.

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