Africa Calling – mission Man

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There is not much surface left of our planet which has not been travelled, traversed, discovered or explored. And everything that has, has usually been done with a purpose or mission in mind.

IMG 5304Wild flowers, Moffat Mission Station, Kuruman, South Africa

Yet what we see as being overtly missional in movement is not always the impetus for its execution. Even if we are in one place, we have reasons for our existence – nothing is wasted. The impetus gives rise to the missions we are all on.

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Overlanding across the continent refers to travelling by any means overland that one uses to get from point to point, be it via bicycle, on foot or vehicle such as our four wheeled drive.

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In Africa Calling our impetus is multi-faceted and one of those was to explore an overlander of antiquity, Dr David Livingstone and his mission. A trailblazer in his own right, our Africa Calling adventure seemed to seamlessly cross the trails he took without any specific intention. His mission was multi-faceted, or was it not? This Tale highlights the physical touch points in a few countries where we encountered a man who ultimately lived for the mission of another Man and His mission:

IMG 3680Wild flowers, enroute to Chitambo, Zambia


South Africa

Moffat Mission Station, Kuruman: Robert Moffat was the first missionary to South Africa which paved the way for David Livingstone into Africa’s interior. David, then associated with the London Missionary Society, married Robert’s daughter Mary and they had 6 children. No biological lineage of David Livingstone exists in this day. The mission had only begun…

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IMG 5284“Livingstone Tree: In 1844 David Livingstone was injured by a lion. The Moffat's daughter, Mary, nursed him in Kuruman. He proposed to her under this almond tree.”

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Explorer: Also in association with the Royal Geographical Society, Livingstone's primary overland means through the African savanna was on foot with little aid. He sometimes did so without necessary support or even belief in the mission he was on by others back in his native land, leaving a literal trail that gave rise to the discovery and naming of the Victoria Falls after Queen Victoria while searching for a trade route into the interior of Africa along the Zambezi River.

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Liberator: A doctor by profession, Livingstone never viewed himself as a pioneer in the early days of his travels. His three different journeyings each portraited varying mandates to the missions he was on, yet was underpinned by a zeal for discovery and even more so by liberating those affected by the slave trade. With access to the Congo, Ujiji near Kigoma on the shore of Lake Tanganyika was an important trading location into Africa's interior from the east to filfull his particular liberating mission. This was the place where Livingstone was found by Henry Stanley who unbeknown to Livingstone, brought much needed supplies to the starving man.

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The famous words: "Dr Livingstone, I presume" was said to have been uttered here by Stanley upon meeting Livingstone.

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Missionary: Livingstone Museum in the town so named after him confirmed the calling Livingstone was about. It was not about him. He lived unto others, for mankind, unto a Man which he knew was always bigger than the mission he thought he was on. He even forsook that which challenges contemporary missionary exploration today – putting his very life into physical danger.

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David Livingstone lived unto the God-Man Jesus. His life was not wasted as what he left behind was a legacy in exploration, liberation and bringing Jesus to people who had never heard of their Creator. Others would succumb to the popular notion his missions were unsuccessful as he did not find the source of the Nile among some other things. He pursued the missions with a small team and at times some of his supporters thought he was dead due to long absences of communication. He died of malaria and dysentery and when he lived, he lived unto another Man.

IMG 3796This is Africa: Traversing the savanna to Chitambo, Livingstone’s place of death and where his heart was buried, proved to be some of the most harsh and lonely overlanding we experienced in Africa Calling. An incredibly remote place, Chitambo was only 30 kilometes from a main arterial road, but in almost permanent 4 x 4 mode took us 90 minutes one way.

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Chitambo: Livingstone reached Chief Chitambo's village at Ilala convinced that he was close to the source of the Nile, even though he was more than a thousand kilometres from it. Recalculating his trajectory, he was eventually confused and lost. But he would not want to admit the fact.

IMG 3742Livingstone was found dead in a kneeling position by his closest local aides, in probable dependence in prayer to His Saviour upon which everything he achieved rested on. He opened up Africa to the world and Africa to its Creator.

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IMG 3751Another bronze plaque on the Livingstone Memorial at Chitambo reads: “Erected By His Friends To The Memory Of Dr. David Livingstone, Missionary and Explorer. He Died Here May 1st, 1873.” 

IMG 7107The “Immortals” probably refer to Livingstone’s loyal attendants Chuma, Suza Mniasere and Vchopere whom buried his heart here and then carried his body overland to Zanzibar, then onto a boat for the burial of his body in Westminster Abby, London.

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What man race are you running?

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Life is Living
Africa Calling – Kili Trails

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