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Pole to Pole

Day 105: Kigoma

Ujiji, Tanzania 
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Stanley, Livingstone and Palin meet at Ujiji.
Michael Palin - Pole to PoleThings are more light-hearted inside the museum, despite its depressingly empty rooms and smell of disuse. Most of the work is by a local schoolteacher, A. Hamisi. There is a series of paintings of the great moments in the life of Livingstone - 'Dr Livingstone saving Chuma and Others from Slavery', 'Dr Livingstone Sitting Under the Mango Tree Thinking About Slavery in Ujiji'. Beside these are two life-size papier mÔchÚ models: Livingstone, looking like Buster Keaton in a dark-blue three-piece suit, raising his peaked cap to Stanley, looking like Harold Macmillan in a light-blue safari suit, and with a pink face. These are also the work of A. Hamisi of Kigoma Secondary School. There is nothing else in the museum.

We drive out of Ujiji, up Livingstone Street, then right at Lumumba Road and back via Mwanga - home of 'Vatican Enterprises Hardware Supplies' and 'Super Volcano Tailoring' - to the busy mango- and acacia-lined main street of Kigoma which is also named after Patrice Lumumba, one of the great heroes of African independence, who was assassinated in 1961.

At the Railway Hotel, half an hour before sunset. This is a magic time as the sun sinks towards the lake and the mountains of Zaire, always grey in the haze, sharpen to a deep black. At the lakeside tonight Australians and New Zealanders, Doktor Brandt, erect and smoking powerfully, two Dutch boys, the Japanese underwater cameraman, even my friend from Leicester, all gather to watch the sun go down; for a few minutes every sound, even the cries of the naked children plunging into water near by, seems to grow distant.
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  • Series: Pole to Pole
  • Day: 105
  • Country/sea: Tanzania
  • Place: Kigoma
  • Book page no: 237

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