Wednesday, 17 September 2008
Dr. Kenneth Kaunda, former president of Zambia
In June 2007 I was invited to London for the re-launch of the Arusha Declaration and stayed with my hosts, Selma James and Nina Lopez, both of whom are vegetarians. Coming from an ethnic group where “food” is synonymous with “meat” and vegetables are fed mostly to livestock, my ten day stay in London on a vegetarian diet was one of the most testing periods I had endured. Tougher than climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro.
I survived and returned to Tanzania where people commented that I looked much younger than I deserved. I put one and two together and decided it was the overdose of vegetables I unwillingly consumed in London that was the cause of my apparent youthful appearance.
Having become increasingly convinced that ten days of a vegetarian diet seemed to slow down my ageing, I decided to drop the beef from my diet and embarked on a quest to become a complete vegetarian.
Over a year later, I was privileged during a recent meeting in Maputo, Mozambique, to meet a famous vegetarian, Dr. Kenneth Kaunda, former president of Zambia. Pictured in top photo (left) and the bottom photo (on the right), he told me he became a vegetarian in 1952 in protest against the British colonial government’s racist policy directing meat vendors in Zambia to sell meat through separate windows for Africans and Europeans. He is a teetotaller and drinks neither tea nor coffee, but drinks a considerable amount of fruit juices daily.
The greatest dilemma I am facing, even more difficult than the decision to drop the meat from my diet, is which of the following two I should give up next: fish or chicken.