David told the directors of the missionary society that he wished to go to Africa, they arranged to send him. On the morning of November 17, 1840, 27 year old David Livingstone bade so long to his father on the Broomielaw quay in Glascow and boarded his awaiting ship, the George. He would never see his father again. The ship George sailed around the Cape of Good Hope and toward the bay of Algoa, where the Atlantic and Indian oceans meet. Here is where David landed and began the expanded exploration inland. David and his associates travelled on foot and horseback with an ox cart to shoulder their necessities. The days were blisteringly hot and the nights clear and biting. They slept under stars huddled in blankets. They came to the village of the Kuruman, where Robert Moffat lived. Robert was not home, he was back in England on a visit. Kuruman had previously been dried-up and barren, but now it was brimming with fruit trees and fields. Robert Moffat had been a gardener before he became a missionary. David stayed only long enough for the oxen to rejuvenate and rest. The people here titled themselves the Bakwena the “people of the crocodile.”David waited for six months for word from the missionary society in London. He learned the language and attitude of the Bakwena. David trained the people about God. He also helped the people irrigate the land. Belatedly the letter came. This outing took him to the people titled the Mabotsa “people of the monkey” where he helped them defeat a lion and got harmed in the shoulder which would never rejuvenate totally.

David stayed in Mabotsa for a lengthened time. The villagers helped him build a brick home and he lived with them and trained their children. His friend Robert Moffat conveyed word that he was returning to Kuruman. So David went to meet him. It was then that he met Mary, Robert’s eldest daughter. In a short time they were engaged. Mr. Moffat had been born in Africa and knew well the duties and hardships of missionary existence. It took some time to prepare for the marriage rite, have a home achieved and commission for a marriage license from England.

The village had a marriage festivity for David Livingstone and Mary Moffat when Mary arrived.
David and Mary recognized that the time had come to move on, they packed all of their personal possessions and moved up north to a village of Chonuane, forty miles to the north. David built a school and another stone domicile. They had their first descendant here, a son. They named him Robert after Mary’s father. It was a very dehydrated place, and when it came time to move on the local people went with the Livingstones. They settled in a village that they called Kolobeng. They built a school, irrigated and created gardens and stayed there for a few years. Mary and David had two more offspring, Thomas and Agnes.
David and his family then travelled on to Lake Ngami. They wanted to reach “the land of many rivers” but travel was wearying and the children were often ill because of the hard living terrain. Little did David know that he was about to discover the Victoria Falls.

For likewise information on Victoria Falls or David Livingstone, visit https://www.livingstonesadventure.com. This is part 1 in a four part series of articles about David Livingstone to be found on this website.

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