Scotland, Africa fete explorer Livingstone on 200th

Fri Nov 23, 2012 1:27pm EST
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By Ian MacKenzie

EDINBURGH (Reuters) - Scotland's National Museum raised the curtain this week on celebrations marking the bicentenary of the birth of the country's most renowned African explorer, David Livingstone, in conjunction with museums in Malawi and Zambia.

Livingstone's explorations took him across Africa and he was the first white man to see the majestic Victoria Falls on the Zambezi river on the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe.

The Edinburgh exhibition follows his career from his birth on March 19, 1813, in Blantyre, eight miles from Glasgow, his early days working in the town's cotton mill, medical studies in Glasgow, his training as a medical missionary and the African adventures that made him a national hero in Britain.

One of the more famous African meetings took place in November 1871 between Livingstone and the Welsh-American explorer and journalist Henry Morton Stanley.

Stanley had been hired by the New York Herald newspaper to track down the missing Livingstone. They met near the shore of Lake Tanganyika where Stanley has been attributed with the greeting: "Dr Livingstone, I presume."

Livingstone died worn-out by hardship and ill health on his final expedition in central Africa on May 1, 1873. His heart was buried in Africa and his body in London's Westminster Abbey.

Lovemore Mazibuko, director of museums of Malawi, said Livingstone was still venerated in southern Africa for his work as a missionary, doctor and educator, and above all for his bitter opposition to the slave trade prevalent at the time and his vision for legitimate trade and commerce for the region.

"He brought an end to the slave trade and in that sense he is regarded as a liberator...he changed people's perception on the way people related to one another irrespective of tribe, irrespective of their color, irrespective of their social status," Mazibuko told Reuters at the opening of the exhibition which runs to April 7 next year.   Continued...