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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Through Livingstone's eyes: perspectives on water in nineteenth-century southern Africa (1849-56)
Author:Tempelhoff, Johann W.N.ISNI
Periodical:New contree: a journal of historical and human sciences for Southern Africa
Geographic term:Southern Africa
water resources
About person:David Livingstone (1813-1873)ISNI
Abstract:David Livingstone (1813-1873) is best remembered as an iconic figure of African exploration. Working from his 'Missionary travels and researches in South Africa' (1858) as a primary source, this article examines Livingstone's observations on water during his early travels into the African interior in the period 1849-1856. When European travellers began to explore the interior of the southern African subcontinent, it became evident that aridity and the scarcity of water posed a major obstacle. Travellers and explorers tended to follow the tracks of Khoikhoi pastoralists and their touchstone was always water. While Livingstone's work contains a great deal of information on the hydrosphere, the article focuses on his perceptions of water (Lake Ngami, the Zambezi River, the Victoria Falls), the expedition's use of water (water quality, securing supplies from locals, inconsistency of water supply), and his observations on indigenous customs pertaining to water. Notes, ref., sum. in Afrikaans. [ASC Leiden abstract]