By Meriel Buxton (auth.)
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Look terrible weapons when bristling around the wild, restless, sparkling eye of the real savage, smeared all over with red paint’,9 was already ﬁnding Kuruman dull. Soon the wide-eyed amazement of the tourist was replaced by the more blasé tone of the seasoned traveller. Tales of the toughness of rhino meat were only included because it was the sort of thing which his sister would want to know about. As he travelled north he was at last seeing things no European had ever seen before. The ﬁrst tribe they visited on their journey north, the Bakhatla, honoured the two Europeans by allowing them to visit their primitive iron smelting works.
His ﬁnal visit, a short one, was to the Makalaka tribe of the Mashona people. He observed that they had many things not otherwise seen in the villages he had visited, and that they fought ‘with guns not Assagai. These they obtain from the Portuguese on the eastern coast, and from some circumstances which have come to my knowledge; I am inclined to believe they procure them in exchange for slaves . ’10 Much of the country through which Livingstone was travelling at this time was suffering from tribal warfare.
They left at the end of August so that they could do much of the work before the hot weather in October. By good fortune the Bakhatla had independently decided to move to the same area at the same time, and the two missionaries bought the land they wished to build on from the Bakhatla, a formality which they saw as more important than did the tribesmen themselves. They took with them to Mabotsa a young native convert named Mebalwe, of whom Livingstone had high hopes. Ideally he would have liked to send him to a different area from any European, in the expectation that he would prove Livingstone’s contention that native converts would be quite as good as Europeans at spreading the gospel.
David Livingstone by Meriel Buxton (auth.)