Philip Chilambe Kunda

Zambian Socialist, latterly a Youth Service development manager in Peterborough, Philip Kunda, completed a BA (Hons) Youth & Community Work and was enrolled on the MA Managing Change programme at Bradford College when he died in 2007.

Philip came from Zambia to complete a BA (Hons) Youth & Community Work degree at Ilkley College during the 1990s. In the 4 years of his degree he became a popular local character and made many friends. He was a member of the Socialist Workers Party and he worked to build links with African Socialists. Philip was heavily involved in the Drop the Debt campaign. He also fought the closure of the College’s Ilkley campus, but later enthusiastically joined the MA Managing Change course in Bradford.

Philip was proud of his culture and frequently wore traditional Zambian dress. While on student placement at Burley-in-Wharfedale Youth Centre Philip was delighted with the young peoples’ interest in finding out about his background and way of life and he enjoyed learning from them about their lives.

This gave Philip the idea to arrange an ambitious cultural exchange, taking students on a trip to Ghana to see education, healthcare and transport facilities and to meet and share ideas and experiences with other students. After applying to On The Line Project, run in conjunction with Channel Four, he scooped a Millennium award worth £10,000 to fund the trip for 6 young people aged from 13 to 18. By the time of the trip Philip was volunteering at the Centre and was thrilled to be turning his dream into reality. He felt a moral imperative to promote understanding and acceptance. He asserted “As a youth worker it is my responsibility to bridge the gap, in terms of understanding where other people come from.”

After graduation he joined Peterborough council as a Youth Service Development Manager where he was instrumental in organising the U-Project scheme, which empowered 16 year olds to develop the skills and personal qualities they need to move effectively from school to the work or further/higher education by involving them in teamwork in outdoor pursuits activities. He explained “We want to ensure that young people in our ‘Learning City’ have the opportunity to enjoy learning and to aim higher so that they make a positive contribution to a bigger and better Peterborough.”

Philip was a person full of optimism and determination to build a better future but his life was cut short by liver failure following malaria. Despite a liver transplant in September 2006, he never recovered completely and died at Addenbrooke’s Hospital, Cambridge in January 2007.