Lanarkshire Philatelic Society

 

"NYASALAND

& the

LIVINGSTONE CONNECTION"

Mr. C. Moffat.

 

President, Terry Woods opened this meeting by wishing long serving member Helen Bruce a very happy birthday. 

Long serving East Kilbride member Chris Moffat then entertained us with his award winning collection of Nyasaland and David Livingstone.

Chris started by outlining a brief history of the origins of the country starting from the time Livingstone arrived there in 1859. Livingstone was not the first white man to arrive there, the Portuguese did some years earlier, but this was kept secret as they (the Portuguese) were involved in the slave trade. The area, originally known as Maravi, meaning flame, is the origin of the country's modern name-Malawi.

Livingstone hated seeing the camel trains with slaves being transported to Zanzibar and vowed to eradicate this by bringing Christianity to the country instead. On his return to England, Livingstone tried to gain support for his plans, however he died, in 1873, before Government has acted. Two mission parties departed (1875 & 6), from Scotland, along with an "Oxbridge" mission in 1882 which built a very impressive cathedral on the remote, but populous, Likoma Island. Unfortunately the missionaries couldn't suppress the slave trade. 

In 1889, however, Harry Johnston was sent out by the British Government, and he became friendly with Cecil Rhodes, who also detested the slave trade. With Rhodes' financial help, and Sikh soldiers from India, Johnston finally ended the slave trade in 1895.

Rhodes and Johnston had much earlier fallen out over Rhodes' land grab dictum, so with missionary help the colony of British Central Africa was formed. Johnston became the first commissioner (1891), inaugurated the postal system using BCA overprints on the stamps of Rhodes' British South Africa Company, designed the first independent postage stamps (1895), and was knighted by Queen Victoria in 1896.

Rhodes' revenge for the falling out was to persuade the Colonial Office to reduce Johnston's pension to 155 per annum from a previous 1450.

Malawi's children are taught this history and look upon David Livingstone as a hero figure who instigated the abolition of slavery, and moulded the country into the peace loving nation it now is.

Chris started his display by explaining the origins of his collection. He went to Malawi in 1971 as a "Weights & Measures" Inspector and trainer. Whilst there a local collector was selling up, so Chris bought what became the basis of his collection there & then! His first round depicted the story of the country, with many postcards and photographs depicting the missionaries, churches cathedrals, mosques and towns (Blantyre, Limbe & Zomba). Further photos and cards depicted the agrarian nature of the economy (Rice, Maize, Tea, Tobacco & Cotton). We were also shown pictures of (a rather younger looking!) Chris, at the home of his trainee's parents enjoying a typical Malawian meal. First round was completed with a selection of Malawian artefacts.

Chris' second round started with the very first BCA overprint stamps, along with a postcard from the first post office at Chinde. He followed with examples, including "Specimens", for all the issues through the years. He paid particular attention to the 1d "Check Stamps" of 1898, so called because they look identical to the stamps/seals which used to be evident on early bank cheques. Chris' research and display on this material resulted in the award of a "Large Vermeille", or Gold Medal which was presented at "Stampex, 2001". Other material to feature came from the postal runner system,  Travelling Post Office (TPO), early airmails and Military Mail, in particular the NF (Nyasaland Forces) overprint from World War 1.

An extremely interesting display was accorded a warm Vote of Thanks by Gordon Shepherd.