Dr Kenneth Kaunda (centre), the former President of Zambia, accompanied by staff from the Zambian High Commission, pictured paying his respects to Reverend Merfyn Temple at St Michael's Churchyard, Honiton, last week. Photo by Toby Hopwood and courtesy of Mr Temple's family.
Belinda Bennett, Editor
Wednesday, January 25, 2012
Former President of the Republic of Zambia in touching graveside tribute to his ‘great friend’, Reverend Merfyn Temple.
Dr Kenneth Kaunda, the former President of Zambia, was in Honiton last week - to attend the burial of his ‘great friend’ Reverend Merfyn Temple.
He brought with him a statement from the current president, His Excellency Michael Chilufya Sata, which he read out at Mr Temple’s graveside, in St Michael’s Churchyard.
The statement said: “Reverend Temple was a gallant freedom fighter, who sacrificed immensely to the emancipation of this country and its people.
“I have no doubt that, during and after the struggle, many freedom fighters and other national leaders looked to him for wisdom and enlightenment.”
For more than three decades, Mr Temple, a Methodist minister, lived and worked in Zambia where he campaigned for fairness and justice.
Dr Kaunda, the former leader of Zambia’s United National Independence Party, of which the late Mr Temple was the first white member, flew to England especially for the burial. A service of thanksgiving to celebrate Mr Temple’s life will not be held until March.
Dr Kaunda was driven to Honiton by staff from the Zambian High Commission in London on Wednesday and visited Shoobridge’s chapel of rest, in Silver Street, before attending the funeral.
In between, he popped into The Boston Tea Party, in High Street, where he enjoyed a soft drink and played the piano.
Jane Clitheroe, Mr Temple’s daughter, said: “They were great friends.”
In fact, Mr Temple played a significant role in helping Dr Kaunda enter government in Zambia in 1962 - by giving him his Land Rover.
“Before that, he was canvassing on a bicycle,” said Mrs Clitheroe.
President Sata said: “Reverend Temple contributed greatly to Zambia’s freedom struggle by assisting with transportation. He is dearly remembered for donating a Land Rover vehicle, which Dr Kenneth Kaunda and other nationalists used to travel across the country as they fought for independence.”
Extended coverage in today’s Midweek Herald.