UK invites Malawi Pres. Banda for David Livingstone’s bicentenary fête

Malawi President Joyce Banda is this weekend poised to visit Scotland for world’s renowned Scottish explorer and missionary, Dr David Livingstone’s 200th anniversary fête, as a special guest of honour.

According to a local Scottish TV, Stv TV the Malawi leader who has just been named as the most powerful woman in Africa, will be visiting Blantyre, Livingstone’s birthplace, at the weekend to join the Scottish people in commemorating the life of one of the world’s most revered apostle and voyager Dr David Livingstone who was born in a town called Blantyre in 1813.

Tom Greatrex MP, chair of the all-party parliamentary group on Malawi, told Stv TV News that the Scottish government is looking forward to hosting Malawi’s first female president and Africa’s second in ‘historic event.’

Said Greatrex: “I think it’s tremendous that Jocye Banda is coming to the UK, and I look forward to welcoming her to Blantyre and Westminster to celebrate the bi-centenary of David Livingstone’s birth.”

President Banda: To visit UK
President Banda: To visit UK

He said the Malawi leader will be visiting Blantyre in South Lanarkshire on official duties as part of the David Livingstone bicentenary celebrations at the invitation of the British government.

During President Banda’s visit to Scotland, she will also discuss ‘fair trade’ with the Scottish government as well cementing the cordial relationship that exists between the two countries and the UK in general.

“I am committed to pursuing the fair trade agenda directly with the Malawian government and the Presidential visit reminds us of our shared heritage and aspirations for the future,” said Greatrex.

South Lanarkshire is best known for best fair trade policies.

Former First Minister of Scotland Lord Jack McConnell also extended the invite to President Joyce Banda to mark the celebrations of the life of one of Blantyre’s greatest exports, the explorer and missionary David Livingstone.

Nyasa Times learnt that Greatrex sought the support of the British Foreign Office and he wrote UK’s Foreign Secretary William Hague asking him all he could to make President Banda’s visit possible.

Greatrex is the co-chair of the All-Party Group on Malawi in Parliament, while Jack McConnell’s work during his term as First Minister helped in bolstering the already strong ties between Scotland and Malawi, formerly Nyasaland.

“There is a great bond between Blantyre in my constituency and the whole of Malawi, including Blantyre. A visit from President Banda would signal the strength of those ties.

“It is right that Blantyre in Lanarkshire is at the centre of events to celebrate the life of David Livingstone at this important anniversary. The town is at the heart of the Livingstone story, and Blantyre is rightly proud of the achievements of its most famous son,” said Greatrex.

Nyasa Times understands that the Malawi’s fourth head of state will also visit Westminster Abbey, where Dr Livingstone’s remains were buried.

Livingstonstone fast-facts

David Livingstone was the first explorer to reach Lake Malawi and is legendarily remembered in the southern African country popularly known as the Warm Heart of Africa for introducing Christianity, education and health services.

A dedicated missionary, Livingstone was born 200 years ago and is widely known as an explorer who mapped large parts of Africa and campaigned to eradicate slavery.

A folk legend in his own lifetime, helped by Henry Morton Stanley’s successful quest to track down the “missing” explorer, Livingstone’s story today is bound up with the rise and fall of colonial rule.

Dr Livingstone is also widely known in Malawi and African for his concerted efforts and rigorous involvement and contributions towards the abolition of slave trade.

In his honour, Malawi’s largest commercial city in the southern region was named after his place of birth, Blantyre.

Livingstone was born and raised in the town, and his legacy is proudly marked through the David Livingstone Memorial Primary School, the David Livingstone Centre and the Blantyre Livingstone Memorial Church.

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