UK invites Malawi president for Dr. Livingstone celebrations

The United Kingdom (UK) has invited Malawi president Mrs Joyce Banda for celebrations commemorating 200 years of the life of Dr. David Livingstone and his contributions to the world, Newstime Africa understands.

Malawi President Joyce Banda

Malawi President Joyce Banda

Ironically, in Malawi, the life of Dr. Livingstone, a Scottish Congregationalist pioneer medical missionary with the London Missionary Society and an explorer in Africa is celebrated every year and his history is very rich in the Malawi.

And according to the Christ the King Soche Anglican Church of the Diocese of Southern Malawi 2013 Rector’s programme, in possession of Newstime Africa, the annual commemoration prayers for Dr. Livingstone, which Church records show he visited many places in Malawi, Zambia, Mozambique, and Zimbabwe, introducing Christianity, teaching the love of God, establishing proper trade and abolishing slave trade, will still be on April 30, the day he passed on.

Under Secretary for Scottish Parliament David Mundell who this week was in Malawi said the UK found it imperative to invite the Malawi leader to attend the celebrations.

“Dr. David Livingstone is a very great figure in Scotland, Great Britain and all over Malawi. More importantly, the Scottish missionary is highly remembered in Malawi for his contributions following his visits and missionary work in the mid-19th century,” observed Mundell.

Scheduled for March 19, 2013 at Westminster Abbey in London, the Undersecretary disclosed that before the main event, there will be a series of events in respect of Dr. Livingstone’s anniversary that would take place in various places of the United Kingdom such as Blantyre, Livingstone’s birth place, London and in Scottish Parliament.

“And a team of Scottish parliamentarians would before 19th March, the day of the event, also visit Malawi to appreciate Livingstone’s influence in the country, among other things,” he revealed.

Born on March 19, 1813 David Livingstone, whose surname is often misspelled as Livingston, helped open the heart of Africa to missions.  His travels covered one-third of the continent, from the Cape to near the Equator, and from the Atlantic to the Indian Ocean.

Dr. Livingstone is remembered for Voyages of Africa which he made between 1858 and 1866, during which among historical features, discovered the source of Nile River, discovered Zambezi River and Lake Malawi.

“Among others, we remember Dr. Livingstone as the first explorer to reach Lake Malawi in 1866 and for the introduction of Christianity, education, health services and his contribution to the abolishing of the slave trade,” said professor Rashid Maganga, an educationist.

Maganga pointed out that Malawi’s commercial city of Blantyre is named after the Scottish missionary birth place while Livingstonia town in Rumphi and the name of the CCAP synod in the northern Malawi-Livingstonia, derives from the Missionary’s surname while the docked Illala passenger and cargo ship was named after the place Dr. Livingstone succumbed to malaria.

Information sourced by Newstime Africa show that the great Missionary was married to Mary Moffatt in 1845, with whom he moved about often times, had six children; Robert, Agnes, Thomas, Elizabeth, Zouga (William), and Anna.

Sadly, Mary was afflicted more than once with partial paralysis, and one time she and the children returned to England for four years in order for her to recover. Her death in 1862 was a great loss to her husband who continued his missionary work for eleven more years.

The greatness of Dr. David Livingstone is not complete without the mention of his role in the introduction of Christianity, the Anglican Church and indeed the Church of Central Africa Presbyterian (CCAP) in the southern Malawi.

Dr. Livingstone is on record to have enticed and assisted Bishop Charles Fredrick Mackenzie, who became the first Bishop in Central Africa, establishes first Christian Church in Malawi at Magomero in Chiradzulu.

Bishop Mackenzie freed many natives from slave trade at Magomero, one of them being Thom Bokwito, believed to have been instrumental in the establishment of CCAP Blantyre synod.

Bishop Mackenzie and his compatriots are spiritually remembered every January 31 by the Anglican Church, but the Diocese of Southern Malawi converges the last Saturday in April in Chikhwawa near the shores of Shire River where the Bishop died in 1862, and celebrates Mass for him.

During the audience with the Malawi leader, the Scottish parliamentary undersecretary presented a gift a book, a compilation of Dr. David Livingstone’s life, achievements and what other commentators said about this great Scottish missionary.

Previously called Nyasaland, Malawi is a former colony of Britain and the late Ngwazi Dr. Hasting Kamuzu Banda was father and founder of the Malawi nation with his Malawi Congress Party. He surrendered the leadership in 1994 to Dr. Elson Bakili Muluzi, first president in a multiparty rule, under the banner of the United Democratic Front, who mentored and surrendered the reign to the late professor Bingu wa Mutharika in 2004.

Mutharika’s 2005-found Democratic Progressive Party got out of the government at a time Malawi was not in good international relations with the United Kingdom and other developing partners

Mrs Joyce Banda, sworn in on April 7 last year, after the demise of professor Mutharika, has managed to restore the international relationship under her Peoples Party.

It is not yet established whether the Anglican Church in Malawi, which celebrated 150 years of Christianity in the country last year, will be represented at the commemoration celebrations.

© 2013, Peter Chipanga. All rights reserved. – The views expressed here are purely those of the author and not necessarily those of the publishers. – Newstime Africa content cannot be reproduced in any form – electronic or print – without prior consent of the Publishers. Copyright infringement will be pursued and perpetrators prosecuted.

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