Kenneth David Kaunda’s Zambia Shall Be Free is more of a prophetic declaration at the time of its writing of the imminent independence of Zambia (then Northern Rhodesia).
It is a memoir which discusses among many other things the coming of age of Kenneth Kaunda (who would become a world-class leader), the apartheid policy in Northern Rhodesia, the rubber stamping of a central federation on Africans (much against their wishes), Africans’ struggle for representation in government and apparently, the towering yet suppressed independence of Northern Rhodesia.
Zambia Shall Be Free also highlights the indignities suffered by Africans in the hands of the Europeans.
The memoir also adumbrates Kenneth David Kaunda’s fusion of Mahatma Gandi’s non-violence approach and Kwame Nkrumah’s positive action approach in his nationalistic struggle. The book which was published in 1962 heralds the independence of Zambia in 1964.
Kenneth would lead Northern Rhodesia to full independence in 1964 and go on to be its first president.
Here are some memorable quotes from the text:
I would ask which was more important: to prepare someone else’s meals and beds or to share them? Was its not common sense that a person who prepared your meals and made your bed and looked after you was controlling your life? How stupid it was for anyone to say you may control my life but I will not sit at the same table with you because you are stinking or because you are black.
Africans are people, not cattle to be herded together and driven here and there.
When people understand a cause, become prepared to suffer for that cause and see glory and honour in such suffering, it is indeed just impossible to suppress them or the cause they stand for.
If a government cannot be run without demoralizing so badly its own people, then that government is no good and it must give way to people who can.
Some of these Salisbury prisoners used to say plainly that they were better off where they were than outside. They would argue they could never hope to find work, they could be harassed by the police for passes, tax receipts and many other things. A society that drives some of its citizens to think in this way is rotten and needs burying.
The white man lords it over us in all walks of life not because he happens to be white but because he is better organised than we are; that is his secret.
Nothing can be achieved anywhere and in any field without good organization.
If you drive an animal into a corner and torment it, you may expect that in its fear and rage it will slash back at you.
For a long time, I have led my people in their shouts of KWACHA (the dawn). We have been shouting it in the darkness; now there is the grey light of dawn on the horizon and I know that Zambia will be free.