Mama Betty Kaweche Kaunda – First Lady from 1964 to 1991
Betty Kaunda born Beatrice Kaweche Bandaon 17thNovember 1928.She was born to Kaweche Banda and Milika Sakala Banda in Mpika in what is now known as Muchinga Province. Her early education was done at Mbereshi Girls after which she pursued training in a programme on Women at Mindolo Ecumenical Foundation and later worked as a teacher in Mufulira, Copperbelt Province. Betty was married to Dr. Kenneth Kaunda in 1946, a freedom fighter in Zambia’s liberation struggle.Dr Kenneth Kaunda was the first President of independent Zambia. As spouse of the First President of Zambia, Betty was the country’s First Lady from 1964 to 1991.
Betty popularly refered to as Mama Betty led a very simple life as the First Lady and she made significant contributions during the liberation struggle by rendering support to the men who were spearheading the liberation struggle. During her time as First Lady, she was involved in a number of charitable initiatives and she received the Indira Gandhi Non-violence award from UNIP for her contribution in the liberation struggle.
Mama Betty passed away at the age of 83, on 18 September 2012while visiting her daughter in Harare, Zimbabwe. She left behind her spouse, Dr Kaunda, eight children, 30 grand children and eleven great grand children. The Government of the Republic of Zambia accorded her a State Funeral for her contribution as a mother of the nation during her time as First Lady.