15 December 2013

South Africa: Kaunda Takes Dig at Apartheid Regime

Qunu — Many guests at the state funeral of former president Nelson Mandela enjoyed the animated vote of thanks given by former Zambian president Kenneth Kaunda in Qunu, in the Eastern Cape, on Sunday.

Loud laughter was heard when Kaunda referred to the apartheid-era National Party, led by FW De Klerk, as the "boer" party.

As his address ran over time, African National Congress deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa walked up to the podium to signal to him to wrap up.

Kaunda got the audience giggling when he protested, saying people were "trying to control an old man who fought the boers". Ramaphosa shrugged and smiled.

Kaunda took the opportunity to remind the apartheid government of its shameful treatment of Mandela and his fellow men.

"I had a chance to meet a number of friends of the boer company. I spent three nights with [former prime minister John] Vorster on a train [stationed on the railway bridge over Victoria Falls, which separates Zambia and Zimbabwe]," Kaunda said.

"I asked the prime minister to please release Nelson Mandela and his colleagues and come together in discussions. It came to nothing.

"Then came another boer leader -- I think he was called [PW] Botha -- to discuss the future of South Africa together. I didn't succeed and it also came to nothing.

"Then came my meeting with FW de Klerk... and, after a few hours, I called a press conference where I said: 'I think I can do business with this man'. Thank goodness he released this great man."

Kaunda also referred to some quotes from the Bible and ended his speech by saying "Amen".

Mandela's grandson Ndaba Mandela left the funeral service venue shortly after in preparation for the burial ceremony.

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