There are going to be many broken hearts in a now potholed field outside KwaHlathi near Ladysmith in KwaZulu-Natal.
For days, people have been digging up what they believe are diamonds. But they appear to be clear quartz nuggets.
With typical efficiency, government swarmed down after a few days to tell everyone:
- The Law Says These Diamonds Belong To Government And There is Much Red Tape And Please Leave, and
- It will take a month of testing to verify if the stones are actual diamonds or not.
Because when a community is building tremendous hope on a mistaken belief, the first thing that needs to happen is for a government official to declare after an entire month, their “diamonds” are not.
I, as well as many others, are avid collectors of rocks, crystals, stones and gemstones. And for me, they don’t have to be particularly valuable, but simply have a memory attached to it.
I have rocks from Israel, Namibia, Botswana, Mozambique and all around South Africa from various travels.
I have an almost perfectly rectangular piece of milky quartz I found while trying to catch my neighbour’s cat. And I would love to lay my hands on a few of the “KwaHlathi Diamonds”.
One would definitely go on my desk and I’d use others to decorate whatever project it is I’m working.
Right now, tiger’s eye is my favourite – okay, it’s been a lifetime favourite ever since Rocky III and Eye of the Tiger by Foreigner – but these seem brilliant, if a little too brilliant, to truly
And while I would happily pay a reasonable amount of hard cash for “Certified Uncut KwaHlathi ‘Diamonds’”, I would pay even more for a small work of art coming from KwaHlathi.
Bangles and bracelets, necklaces and ankle chains, headbands, “I found this in KwaHlathi” boards with a signature and a KwaHlathi Diamond stuck to it.
Innovation has always been at the forefront of entrepreneurship and with unemployment the way it is, don’t be looking to government to help out.
Except, government must help out. Instead of heavy-handed application of red tape, this is the one time government may walk away with cream in its ’tach instead of egg.
People find value in being productive, in contributing, in being creative and leaving something eternal behind.
And public relations companies – instead of sending an endless flood of e-mails wanting free advertising for their product because, yea, I’m just going to give valuable real estate away –
should be jumping in with both feet here: how can we market this locally, how can it be marketed overseas?
And do it for free. This is where corporate social investment happens, not something you do because you can claim it back from tax.
De Beers could help with a biggest “Un-Diamond” prize, throw its massive financial muscle behind KwaHlathi miners, help with safety gear and staking claims and registering the
claims, helping with all The Red Tape it knows exactly how to navigate.
All that glitters is not lost.
But the time is now.