The David Livingstone Birthplace is the only place in the UK that people can visit to learn about Livingstone’s remarkable life and legacy. His story is no longer well known, and yet he is a key figure.
In the UK, key sites such as Livingstone’s gravestone at Westminster Abbey and statues of him in Glasgow and Edinburgh preserve his place in British history. However, there is only one place in the UK that people can visit to learn about Livingstone’s remarkable life and legacy – David Livingstone’s Birthplace, Blantyre, Scotland.
David Livingstone’s life and legacy is preserved through education in Scotland, Zambia and Malawi, where Livingstone is part of the school curricula. He is also celebrated, honoured and memorialised at various sites in Sub- Saharan Africa:
The Livingstone Museum, Livingstone, Zambia - The museum houses a permanent David Livingstone exhibition of letters and objects, many of which were donated by Livingstone’s family.
Chitambo Memorial, Chitambo, Zambia - A monument erected by Kenneth Kaunda, the first Prime Minister of Zambia, marks the spot where Livingstone’s heart is buried.
Livingstone Statue, Victoria Falls, Zambia -The statue stands in honour of Livingstone who named the falls after Queen Victoria.
Nkhotakota Treaty Tree, Nkhotakota, Malawi - A sign marks the tree under which Livingstone convinced Swahili-Arab traders to stop trading slaves.
The Livingstone-Stanley Memorial, Ujiji, Tanzania - A monument marks the spot where Livingstone and Stanley had their famous meeting and this is accompanied by the Dr Livingstone Memorial Museum.
The Livingstone-Stanley Monument, Mugere, Burundi - A monument marks the location where Livingstone and Stanley camped during their exploration of Lake Tanganyika.
The Livingstone Memorial, Kolobeng Mission, Botswana - The remnants of Livingstone’s early mission station have been preserved as a heritage site.
This is not an exhaustive list, but it provides an insight of how Livingstone is memorialised in Sub-Saharan Africa. The majority of these sites are managed by national government departments in recognition of Livingstone’s contribution to their country’s heritage. As well as the preservation of historical sites, it is a testament to Livingstone’s popularity that many place names connected with him have been preserved when most other European place names in post-colonial Africa have been renamed or reverted to their African names. This includes Livingstone, Zambia’s tourism centre, and Blantyre, Malawi’s second largest city.