The Niagara Falls is a major tourist attraction in North America, but when I visited it years ago, my first thought was: 'You call this a waterfall? I’ve seen something far more impressive in Zambia: the rain falling off my roof.'
The Niagara didn’t impress me at all, largely because I was comparing it to the majestic, breathtaking Victoria Falls. And there’s just no comparison. While Victoria Falls is called ‘Mosi-oa-Tunya’ (the smoke that thunders), the Niagara should be called ‘Mosi-oa-Tiny’ (the smoke that whispers).
I used to be so proud that Zambia was home to the most beautiful waterfall in the world. But that was many years ago, before I discovered that Victoria Falls had been stolen right before our eyes. Yes, in case you didn’t notice, Victoria Falls isn’t in Zambia anymore. It’s in Zimbabwe! And you thought Robert Mugabe just seizes farms!
How did I discover this grand theft? Well, it didn’t take any real detective work. I just kept my eyes open and, much to my surprise, continually spotted references to 'Zimbabwe’s Victoria Falls' and 'Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe.' I wanted to scream: 'Victoria Falls is in Zambia! The Zimbabweans can see it, but it still belongs to Zambia!'(Just because you can stand on Independence Avenue and view State House doesn’t mean you own it.)
I did an Internet search on Google and found at least 162 references to 'Zimbabwe’s Victoria Falls,' but only 13 to 'Zambia’s Victoria Falls.' There are also 1,840 references to 'Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe' and only 299 to 'Victoria Falls in Zambia.' This is absolutely shocking. When did Zimbabwe steal the falls? And what were members of the Zambia National Tourist Board (ZNTB) doing at the time - bungee jumping?
Believe it or not, there are even three Internet references to 'South Africa’s Victoria Falls.' South Africa? This thievery is getting out of hand. If the ZNTB doesn’t do something about this, we might soon start seeing references to 'Kenya’s Victoria Falls' and 'Egypt’s Victoria Falls.'
The Kenyans are experts at promoting tourism. Their brochures would probably say something like this: 'Come to Kenya and visit the magnificent Victoria Falls. It’s only a short plane ride from Nairobi.'
President Mwanawasa needs to order an investigation, perhaps even file a complaint with the UN. We just can’t allow other countries to steal our tourist attractions. First it’s 'Zimbabwe’s Victoria Falls' and next thing you know, it’ll be 'Zimbabwe’s Kuomboka Ceremony.'
If the UN doesn’t act, we can take Zimbabwe to court. We can try to force them to replace the words 'Zimbabwe’s Victoria Falls' in their tourism brochures with a more accurate description: 'Zimbabwe’s view of Zambia’s Victoria Falls.'
In return, we can show our neighborly spirit by mentioning Zimbabwe in all our brochures: 'Come to Zambia for a totally magnificent view of Victoria Falls or go to Zimbabwe and totally miss out.'
What if the Zimbabweans don’t agree? Well, we’ll be left with no choice but to show them who really controls the Victoria Falls.
Yes, we’ll drain the Zambezi.