David Livingstone and the myth of African poverty and disease: a close examination of his writing on the pre-colonial era

This study about David Livingstone is different from all other publications about him. Here, Livingstone is not the main topic of interest; the focus is on nutrition and health in pre-colonial Africa and Livingstone is the key informant of the author. David Livingstone and the Myth of African Poverty and Disease is an unusual book. After a close examination of Livingstone's writings and comparative reading of contemporary authors, Sjoerd Rijpma has been able to draw cautious conclusions about the relatively favourable conditions of health and nutrition in southern and central Africa during the pre-colonial period. His findings shed new light on the medical history of Sub-Saharan Africa. The surprise awaiting travellers in and also before 19th century Africa was that the inhabitants of the interior, even the 'slaves', were healthier and better fed than many of their contemporaries in Europe's Industrial Revolution.

Sadly, Sjoerd Rijpma died on 6 February 2015.

This book appeared in the Afrika-Studiecentrum Series, volume 35.

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Author(s) / editor(s)

Sjoerd Rijpma

About the author(s) / editor(s)

Sjoerd Rijpma (1931- 2015) worked as a medical doctor in Africa and the Netherlands and held a PhD degree in agricultural sciences.

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This book can be ordered directly from Brill Publishers.