Slave trade truths

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Michael Fry (Features, 20 March) writes that “Livingstone was revered for his heroism. . . in ending the slave trade in central Africa”.

Neither Livingstone nor the missionaries inspired by him succeeded in suppressing the slave trade.

The mission stations provided security in their immediate vicinity, but further afield the slave trade and tribal warfare continued unabated.

The slave trade in what later became Malawi was brought to an end in the 1890s by explorer Harry Johnston, who was 
financed by mining magnate Cecil Rhodes.

Elsewhere in central Africa the slavers were subdued and tribal warfare brought to an end by the British South Africa company, itself founded by Rhodes.

Both Rhodes and colonial adminstrator Lord Lugard were great men. If they do not command respect in the Africa of today, it is in considerable part because Britain made no attempt to defend her own colonial record during the period of decolonisation in the 1960s.

In addition, in Northern Rhodesia, the colonial history of the territory was of almost continuous economic development and rising African living standards.

When I was working in the Copperbelt in the 1970s, Africans remembered the federation as a time of prosperity and 
contentment.

Richard AA Deveria

Aberfeldy