A FILM and piece of music that tells the untold stories of Scottish explorer David Livingstone’s African crew members has been commissioned by the David Livingstone Birthplace (DLB) Exchange group.

The group hopes to enable community groups to explore experiences of empire, migration and life in Britain through their collections.

The film, by artist Mara Menzies, and music, by composer Gameli Tordzro, will premiere on June 25 in a special community-led event, as part of Refugee Festival Scotland.

The works will be at the David Livingstone Birthplace museum at a special Tingatinga Party event which will feature an afternoon of live music, art, film, food and storytelling.

Alasdair Campbell, community and partnerships officer at DLB said: “It’s been a huge pleasure bringing the group together and being part of their journey researching our collection.

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“The group are incredibly talented and we have learned a lot from them over the last six months.

“We are so grateful for their generosity and dedication in bringing this vital project together and supporting our ongoing efforts to decolonise our museum.

“We’re delighted to be hosting the Tingatinga Party to celebrate the exchange group’s achievements and share their important work with wider audiences.”

The DLB Exchange group is one of seven projects hosted at different museums around the UK as part of the community-led Collections Research Project.

The project, funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, brings together six participants to look at how creative responses to the museum’s collection can be used to speak to different African cultures, communities and individuals that Livingstone encountered and worked with.

The participants have selected objects from the DLB’s collection to reveal new stories relating to Livingstone’s African crew members.

The group looked closely at a largely undocumented object in the collection, a fibrous urn belonging to Abdullah Susi and James Chuma, two of Livingstone’s most valued crew members.

The group asked what everyday objects can reveal about the experience of African community groups and individuals that supported Livingstone.

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Inspired by the findings, the DLB have commissioned storyteller Mara Menzies to reimagine Susi and Chuma’s story through film.

The film will later feature as a permanent part of the exhibition and hopes to highlight the vital role of crew members and correct the narrative of Livingstone as a “lone hero”.

Artist and member of the DLB, Josie KO, said: “Working with this group and looking at the realities of Livingstone’s story, has taught me about how racist narratives and colonial strategies have been implemented in Scottish history.

“What I have enjoyed about this project is discovering the truth about Livingstone’s impact and exposing the stories of the hidden African figures who were previously unnknown to me.”