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David Livingstone (clip 1)

Life of the famous Victorian explorer

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An account of the life of David Livingstone (1813 – 1873). This Docu-drama depicts the life of the famous Victorian explorer and missionary including a dramatised account of his expedition through Africa.

Shots include African native people dancing, a dramatisation of Livingstone's missionary work; an exploration team walking beside a wagon through the Kalahari Desert; vultures feeding on dead animals; a reenactment of slave driving; snakes, lions, crocodiles; the exploration team hacking through the forest.

Questions & Activities


  • Why did people in the past call Africa "the Dark Continent"?
  • What was the transatlantic slave trade?
  • What language is used in this clip (and clip 2) to describe the indigenous people?
  • How is malaria spread?
  • What kinds of wildlife did Livingstone encounter?
  • What role did the church have in abolishing the slave trade?


Find out where Kuruman is and what the landscape is like.

Write a story from the perspective of one of the indigenous people about Livingstone's arrival.

Research the beliefs of indigenous South African tribes.

Research Glasgow's place in the slave trade. How long did it continue? Find out what the slaves were traded for? What famous Glaswegian were involved? Develop a presentation to your class including appropriate images.

Research how Scotland's wealth was founded on the slave trade. How should we make amends?

Imagine you were David Livingstone setting off on your expedition. Write a diary entry for how you felt about the expedition and what you encountered.

Research famous Scots and Africans of the Victorian period - who were they and what did they do?

Updated March 2020

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