‘Diamond rush’ takes hold of South African village after unidentified stones are found
More than 1,000 fortune-seekers flocked to the village of KwaHlathi in South Africa’s KwaZulu-Natal province on Monday in search of what they believed to be diamonds after unidentified stones were found in the area.
People have traveled from all over South Africa to join villagers who have been digging since Saturday, after a herdman who dug up the foundation stone on an open field, believed to be quartz crystals, said the word.
The find was life-changing, a digger Mendo Sabelo said as he held a handful of tiny stones.
“It means our lives are going to change because no one had a real job, I do odd jobs. When I got home with them, (the family was) really thrilled,” the father of two said. 27 years old.
The unemployed Skhumbuzo Mbhele concurred with this opinion, adding: “I had neither seen nor touched a diamond in my life. This is the first time I have touched it here.”
The mining department said Monday it was sending a team of geological and mining experts to the site to collect samples and perform analysis.
An official technical report will be released in due course, the department said.
The lack of analysis of the stones did not deter the fortune seekers as long lines of cars parked on both sides of the gravel road could be seen a few meters from the open field, where young, old, women and men dug through the ground with pickaxes, shovels and pitchforks to find riches.
The South African economy has long suffered from extremely high unemployment rates, trapping millions of people in poverty and contributing to the glaring inequalities that persist nearly three decades after the end of apartheid in 1994. The coronavirus pandemic has aggravated the situation.
Some people have started selling the stones, with a starting price ranging from Rand 100 ($ 7.29) to Rand 300.
The provincial government has since asked everyone involved to leave the site to allow authorities to conduct a proper inspection, fearing that people digging at the site could potentially spread the coronavirus.
($ 1 = Rand 13.7193)
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