Betty (84), wife of Kenneth Kaunda, who ruled Zambia for 27 years between 1964 and 1991, had visited her daughter, Musata Kaunda-Banda who works for the Zambian embassy in Harare.
A family spokesperson and son, Tilenje Kaunda, told Radio Voice of the People that funeral arrangements were yet to be finalised although he expected his mother to be buried at Chinsali in the northern province of Zambia.
He said his father, who was in South Africa at the time of his wife’s death, was on Wednesday given a plane by South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma to fly to Zimbabwe.
Betty had battled with diabetes for the last 60 years.
She was born Beatrice Kaweche Banda in Chinsali on November 17, 1928 and grew up in Mpika. Her father was Kaweche Banda while the mother was Milika Sakala Banda.
She married Dr Kaunda in 1946.
She went to school at Mbereshi Girls and worked as a teacher in Mufulira after her training at Mindolo Ecumenical Foundation.
Betty was in May this year honoured by President Michael Sata for her contribution to the independence struggle.
She was also bestowed with the 2010 “Virtuous Woman” award by the Generation Impact Foundation in appreciation of her contribution to the liberation from British rule.
She is survived by eight children, 38 grandchildren and 17 great grandchildren.