African History 1: The Smoke that Thunders

Victoria Falls is the largest waterfall in the world. But the real question here is: if Victoria Falls and no one is around to hear it, did she really even make a sound?

LanguageEnglish Language
World HistoryAfrican History

Transcript

00:23

So it’s no big surprise that when the most famous African explorer, Dr. David Livingstone,

00:28

gave Victoria Falls its name… [Dr Livingstone by Victoria Falls]

00:30

He didn’t mention that the natives already had one for it: Mosi-oa-Tunya

00:35

or "The Smoke that Thunders.”

00:38

Sorry, Dr. L, the natives obviously have one up on you when it comes to naming things.

00:43

"The Smoke that Thunders" is a spot-on description of the world's longest curtain of falling [Dr Livingstone using a measuring tape]

00:48

water.

00:49

Eat your heart out, Niagara!

00:51

The gorge that causes the falls was formed by the Zambezi River on the border of Zimbabwe

00:56

and Zambia.

00:57

Geez.

00:58

Talk about a bunch of “Z” hogs. [Man dressed in black clothing with a cape]

01:00

The falls are so gigantic that they create their own unique ecosystem… [Animals surrounding the Falls]

01:04

…and four endangered bird species call them home sweet home.

01:09

Today, the falls are thought of as a Natural Wonder of the World and have been designated

01:15

a UNESCO World Heritage site. [Victoria Falls stamped with UNESCO stamp]

01:18

Not too shabby.

01:19

One of Africa’s most visited sites, the falls are also a must-visit destination for

01:24

thrill-seekers, who like to bungee jump from the bridge.

01:27

Kinda hardcore.

01:29

Even Livingstone wasn’t that brave. [Man falling from Victoria Falls]

01:30

And this was a guy who didn’t stop exploring Africa, even after a lion mangled his arm.

01:35

Actually that’s…probably more impressive than bungee jumping. [Lion eating Dr Livingstone's arm]

01:38

Okay, so maybe we were being too hard on Livingstone.

01:42

After all, he was one of the first Europeans to expose the horrible toll that slavery had

01:46

taken on Africa.

01:47

And even though he took it upon himself to name falls that already had a perfectly good [Livingstone declaring his love for Victoria Falls]

01:51

name, his narrative describing them is still pretty awe-inspiring.

01:55

When he describes the scene as "gazed upon by angels in their flight," we can’t help

02:01

but get the goose-pimply feeling of someone seeing an African marvel for the first time. [Dr Livingstone looking at the Victoria Falls and angel appears]

02:06

So remember…next time you’re on the border of Zimbabwe and Zambia, don’t forget to

02:09

ask directions to “The Smoke that Thunders.”

02:12

And if you’re asking a non-African, make sure they don’t think you’re asking them [Livingstone stood in a kitchen and microwave explodes]

02:15

to show you what happens when you put a fork in the microwave…