8 August 2004
A life-size statue of David Livingstone, sculpted by Sir William Reid Dick in the 1930’s, stands on the Zimbabwean side of the Victoria Falls.
Siloka Mukuni, chief of the Leya people, who live around Livingstone, believes that the statue was taken from Zambia, and he would like it back. The recovered statue would be placed in the centre of the town in time for next year’s 100th anniversary of the founding of the town of Livingstone, and the 150th anniversary of David Livingstone first seeing the falls; viewing it in 1855 from the Zambian side.
Chief Mukuni says, “The Zambians have a great deal of affection for Livingstone’s memory…we have changed a great many of our colonial place names since independence, but we have kept the name of Livingstone.”
The tourist trade is said to be booming in Livingstone with many more people coming to the new hotels, which have been built there. On the other hand, hotel occupancy in Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe has fallen from 70% to below 30% in recent years.
(The history of the statue is not entirely clear. There are those who say that there were two statues, and that the Zambian one just got lost. The Foreign Office in London has been asked to help get to the bottom of the mystery.)
The above courtesy of last week’s Sunday Telegraph.