There are not many countries which have been more affected by David Livingstone than Malawi. This peaceful land is one of the most devout Christian countries in the whole of Africa where nearly every Malawian goes to bed with a bible by his side. This being Africa, the friendly Malawian people wear their religion lightly and are certainly no zealots; but make no mistake, David Livingstone’s impact has been significant.
On his various expeditions, he was instrumental in abolishing slavery in the region and as mentioned in yesterday’s article, he did it in a low key way, avoiding bloodshed and use of arms. Livingstone was the first European explorer to discover and map out Lake Nyasa (Malawi) and made so many converts that his legacy is a church in every village in the country. Blantyre, Malawi’s commercial capital is named after the town of his birth in Scotland. Livingstonia, a small mission town with a highly regarded school in the north of the country was also named in his honour. The University of Strathclyde in Scotland (Livingstone’s alma mater) funds various scholarships and educational initiatives in Malawi.
Indeed, the link between Scotland and Malawi is so strong that it culminated in President Joyce Banda being the guest of honour at the David Livingstone bicentennial celebration last month in Blantyre, Scotland. On a personal note, having travelled extensively throughout the country, you can travel to the Scottish highlands in Malawi. High up on the Nyika plateau you will be met with a scenery of heather, bracken and swirling mists where the incongruity is seeing zebra and eland and not a highland stag!
On a final note, Livingstone called Lake Malawi “Lake of Stars” because of its brilliant shimmer and provided the country with a perpetual marketing line.
We list a few events below for the centenary. Please discuss with our consultants any further events which you know about or wish to visit.
David Livingstone Bicentenary Ride – Malawi
Lake Malawi to Mount Mulanje, both sights that Livingstone was the first European to see, through the old capitals of Zomba and Blantyre.
Where: Mulanje, Malawi
When: Thu, 9 May 2013 – Sat, 18 May 2013
Malawi Cycle and Trek 2013
200km cycle from the shores of Lake Malawi to Mulanje via the National Park for views of elephants and hippos and on to the Mulanje tea plantations, finishing with a trek up the majestic Mount Mulanje
Where: Mulanje, Malawi
When: Fri, 5 Jul 2013 – Sun, 14 Jul 2013
Celebrating David Livingstone in Malawi by Nicolas Edwards