WHILE her father kept a grip on power. Musata became the rebellious teenage daughter of the President who longed to have the freedom that she could only dream about within the walls of State House.
She was only three when her father became president in 1964,but when she grew older, she yearned for the freedom of an ordinary citizen.On a few occasions, she scaled the brick perimeter wall at State House in the night, on the western side overlooking the Lusaka Golf Club, to escape to parties.
“I knew State House like the back of my hand, so we knew where to jump, where there were no soldiers,” says Musata.
Once out of her palatial prison, she hiked a car on Saddam Hussein Boulevard (now Los Angeles Boulevard).“When you come out, nobody knows who you are, so even if you stop a car they don’t know who you are,” she says with chuckle.
“I was quite naughty, but I’m a good girl now,” says Musata.
She is vivacious and straighttalking.Musata is the sixth born in a family of nine, and one of only two girls born to the now late couple Kenneth and Betty Kaunda.
Her younger sister, Cheswa,was born in 1963, in a set of twins.Of course being the president’s child had its advantages, but some disadvantages, too.“There were some good things and some bad things,” says Musata.
“The privileges were there, obviously. Everything we needed, we had. But there were some things that you wished were different, like when I went to school, all my friends were being dropped by their parents, I was brought by the driver. I wished my mum could take me to school or my dad could take me to school.” “I pestered my mum once, and I made her take me to school,” she recalls.State House was boring sometimesMusata attended Holy Cross Convent School in Lusaka.
She later attended Fatima Girls School in Ndola, which she liked because she was able to be among many girls from ordinary families.For Musata, associating with ordinary girls was not a problem,because
“we had already been taught that we were not better than anybody else.”
“I didn’t think that I was special, as special as other people would expect me to feel. The only time that I would think about that was when my friends would ask me at school how it felt to be the president’s daughter,” she says.
She still remembers how all eyes rolled to her table in the dining hall on her first day at Fatima.“They all watched me about to eat scrambled eggs and nshima, and I ate. I was hungry and they were like wow, ‘she ate nshima’,” she says.
But while she may have been the envy of her peers at school,Musata says sometimes life in the confines of State House got boring.
“Maybe that is why I became naughty, because you’ve got nowhere else to go. You are not allowed to leave the gate,” she says.
“We never really used to go out when we were teenagers. My mum was very strict, she would never let us go,” she says.
But when the girls were older, they were allowed to attend birthday parties for friends.But they were always under watch.
“You go on a date with your boyfriend and the bodyguard is sitting behind you, how do you do that? It used to upset me,” she says.
“But it got to a point where we started sneaking out because it was happening and we were missing out,” she adds.
On a few occasions Musata and her sister, Cheswa, sneaked out on their bodyguard in town.“Otherwise life was going to pass me by. I just wanted to have fun, I wanted to experience things,” says Musata.
But life in State House did give her some experiences she could only have dreamt of.“We met a lot of world leaders,which was exciting,” she says.