Museum to honour David Livingstone

25 Oct 2016 17:40pm
By Francois Lottering
SANGWALI, 25 OCT (NAMPA) - One man’s dream to establish a museum for well-known explorer, missionary and adventurer Dr David Livingstone received a boost when the one-room museum at Sangwali was recently upgraded.
The new museum made of bricks and a corrugated iron roof is home to various artefacts like pictures and maps painted on canvas to tell the stories and travels of Livingstone from Kuruman in South Africa to Sangwali, where he resided before going deeper into central Africa.
The original structure was a traditional hut made of clay and a grass roof.
Sangwali, a small village about 130 kilometres west of Katima Mulilo in the Zambezi Region, is home to Linus Mukwata, founder of the David Livingstone Museum.
Mukwata, in his mid-fifties, told Nampa that he can recall his father telling him as a child about this remarkable missionary and adventurer called Livingstone. He said his father described the Livingstone as a man who made it his task to make Sangwali his home and bring the gospel to the people of Africa.
Livingstone was more than a missionary and aimed to abolish slavery in Africa, especially among stronger tribes who enslaved weaker and smaller clans. He sought to improve the lives of those in Africa by bringing Christianity and commerce to the continent. He was less successful in evangelising than in his fight against slavery.
Livingstone will also be remembered for naming Victoria Falls when he and some of his aides came across the natural wonder then known in the Tonga language as “Mosi-oa-Tunya” (the smoke that thunders) in 1855.
Mukwata and his partner, Adolf Waidelich, established the museum not only to preserve the history of Livingstone, but to offer tourists more to see and do than game drives and visiting traditional villages.
A teacher by profession and a member of the Mayeyi tribe, Mukwata said he felt morally obliged to preserve the history that his father told him as a child.
Speaking to Nampa at the museum shortly after its official opening, he said it is more than a building; it unites people.
“If you do not create peace, if you do not create happiness, then it is not freedom,” Mukwata said.
Vice King Lisias Mufalali from the Mayeyi Traditional Authority described the opening as a momentous event as it will unite all people visiting his area.
Addressing about 100 guests and members of the diplomatic corps through an interpreter, Mufalali said the aim is development.
He addressed his audience standing. Traditionally, the king must be seated at all times when addressing his subjects and guests as an indication of his humbleness to serve and listen to his audience.
Ambassador Jana Hybášková from the European Union Delegation to Namibia said during the official opening the EU wants to work with all people from Namibia and not only wants to support various projects, but also need the people in their efforts.
The diplomat said the upgrade from a thatch-roofed museum to one with solid walls and steel roof is a clear indication that all people can work and be together.
“You must tell the history of your area yourself to the world.”
Apart from the historical place at Sangwali where Livingstone and Chief Sebitwane had several dinners at the exact location, several maps inside tell stories of the once fearless missionary who never raised his muzzle loader (ancient rifle) against any human being.
Livingstone died at the age of 60 in 1873 in Chief Chitambo's village at Ilala, southeast of Lake Bangweulu, in present day Zambia from malaria and internal bleeding due to dysentery.
The European Union (EU) in collaboration with the Namibia Scientific Society (NSS) supported the upgrade of the museum, including road signs on how to get to the museum.