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By Kekeletso Nakeli

Columnist


The truth about KZN’s ‘diamond’ diggers

We cannot ignore the fact that there are pockets of society desperate for a change in the balance of the scales.


The flocking of thousands to KwaHlathi in KwaZulu-Natal in search of riches is as sad as it is laughable.

It speaks of the desperate search for a better life; the quest to rise above just surviving and having to be an audience member to the leaders of the day who lunch in Cape Town and party the night away in Dubai.

When men and women opt out of their daily routines to go and dig for “diamonds”, it speaks volumes about a nation so desperate for that better life that they are promised around every election.

The “precious” stones were, for so many, a gateway to a life devoid of poverty. The legislation around who those stones could be sold to if, indeed, it was found they were diamonds was of no concern to those people.

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All that mattered was, finally, by digging and a stroke of luck, poverty could be a distant dream. A part of me wished those stones were the fortune that these men and women so desperately sought.

I wanted the newfound fortunes to silence the rumblings in their stomachs at the end of the day after toiling hard just for the bare minimum that keep roofs over their heads. I wanted them to not have to choose between basic sanitary items and a little extra food. I wanted them to have the freedom to walk into educational facilities of their choice and unleash the potential of their dreams in classrooms with every imaginable facility.

This was not just about dreams that did not come true – but basic economic emancipation denied … yet again. It ended in tears as we watched from our seats of privilege, because we have so much more than them.

While the economy of things dictates that we cannot all be millionaires, we cannot ignore the fact that there are pockets of society desperate for a change in the balance of the scales.

There are those who keep hoping, praying and, it seems, digging for fortune – in the belief that one day they, too, will be afforded the opportunity to sit with their peers and not live on the poorer side of the fence.

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