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Published: July 20th 2012
Ujiji has a nice ring to it. I wanted to come here for the same reason I visited Wawa, Ontario and Kalamazoo, Michigan. I liked the name. Well, unlike those two places Ujiji has some interesting history ... ok, it's not "history" yet ... "current affairs" then.
This guy named Livingstone had been poking around Southern and Eastern Africa in the mid 1800's. He'd gone on 3 missions ... the 1st one to Southern Africa to convert the inhabitants to his form of monotheism ... the 2nd one up the Zambezi and been shown the "the Smoke that Thunders" by a local chief. Well, this guy Livingstone just renamed it right then and there - after his Queen in a far-away land. Personally, I think "Smoke that Thunders" is a far better name than "Victoria Falls".
His 3rd trip was to this area started in Zanzibar and followed traditional slave trading routes to around Lake Tanganyika and Lake Nyasa (aka Lake Malawi). Why didn't he rename those names? Anyway, he caught malaria and stayed put. The rumour mill back in England said he was dead. Since there was no Facebook nor Twitter in those days, a certain editor in
New York sent out one his pre-twitter writers named Stanley to find Livingstone. Well to cut a long story short, he did.
Now you must admit, "Dr. Livingstone I pressume" is perfect for Twitter eh? Just like that attention grabbing Pierre Elliot Trudeau, who practiced doing his famous pirouette behind another Queen of England, Stanley had practiced his line too. The best ad libs are always practiced.
So, now there's a TSH20,000 (about US$15) entrance fee, a sad museum, and a monument and plaque at the spot where these two met. Lake Tanganyika has receeded 400 meters down slope ... the original mango tree is gone, but nearby are two grafted copies of the original tree.
Since Stanley had brought medicines with him, Livingstone got better, and set out again but died a few years later. His body was spiced up (to stop rotting) and carried back to England and laid to rest at Westminster Abbey - where British Royalty goes to marry. Newly Wed, and Famously Dead?
Since, I don't have to wait for the MV Liemba anymore, I'm busing to Mpanda tomorrow enroute to Sumbawanga and then the Zambian border at Mbala. There's another
set of waterfalls there near Lake Tanganyika called Kalumbo Falls ... I'm going to see if I can to see that before I head down to Lusaka.
A bit more information about the MV Liemba. As I said, it's an old German warship. It was originally brought in pieces and assembled on the lake by the Germans, when Tanganyika was a German colony. There was a brief set of skirmishes between a British raiding party and the German garrison during the first European war of the 20th century. The Germans scuttled it in 1916 and the British refloated it in 1922. It's been serving as a lake ferry and lots of local communities depend on it and set their weekly schedules around it's arrival. I'd been wanting to be on it, ever since I stumbled across a TV documentary about the British raiding party and how an eccentric British desk officer set upon that crazy mission and brought two British boats from the UK to South Africa and hauled them to Lake Tanganyika from South Africa.
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