Zamtel commissions Kitwe artist to recreate KK’s 1964 official portrait

ZAMTEL has commissioned 23-year-old Kitwe based artist Mercy Gondwe to recreate Dr Kenneth Kaunda’s iconic 1964 official portrait.

The project, launched to commemorate Zambia’s 57th Independence anniversary, is also in line with Zamtel’s One Zambia One Nation, One Network campaign.

Best known as the Pencil Lady, Mercy is credited with frequently portraying influential figures in their realistic, yet expressive likenesses, which has won her a legion of fans.

The portrait will be unveiled at the former residence of late Dr Kaunda on Saturday, October 23 in Lusaka’s State Lodge.

Zamtel corporate communications manager Changwe Kabwe said the painting was another way in which the company was helping to keep the legacy of the founding president alive.

“We are recognisance of the fact that this is the first time that Zambia is celebrating independence without our founding father who sadly passed on June 17th 2021. As an indigenous brand, we owe it to our future generations to keep Dr Kaunda’s legacy alive,” Kabwe said in a statement.

He said Zamtel was keen on promoting the growth of the local arts and creatives sector, expressing confidence that the painting would breathe in a new life into Dr Kaunda’s strong legacy.

“We know that Mercy is a hugely talented young artist and this project goes to show Zamtel’s commitment to promoting other forms of art. And through this gesture, we want other young artists especially girls to realise that they could earn a living through arts,” said Kabwe.

And Dr Kaunda’s daughter Cheswa commended Zamtel for the initiative, adding that the painting would help keep the memory of her late father alive.

“We are moved by the gesture from Zamtel to honour the old man with a painting. Thinking of him around this period of independence is very humbling to us as a family,” said Cheswa. “As an artist himself, we know how much he appreciated art and this gesture would have made him proud.”

Meanwhile, Gondwe said she was overjoyed to have been selected by Zamtel to paint Dr Kaunda’s portrait.

“This is a dream come true for me. I have always admired Dr Kaunda and I never got a chance to meet him but working on this project will enable me get even more closer to him. I feel really privileged,” said Gondwe.

The portrait will be handed over to Dr Kaunda’s family who will later give it to the Lusaka National Museum for its presidential collection, with the hope of it being auctioned at a later stage to raise funds for charities that were close to Dr Kaunda’s heart.

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