South African Diamond Trade: Enforcement and Perpetuation of Apartheid, Past and Present

South African Diamond Trade: Enforcement and Perpetuation of Apartheid, Past and Present

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South African Diamond Trade: Enforcement and Perpetuation of Apartheid, Past and Present

I. Introduction

South Africa was a rich country with a beautiful landscape and a rich culture. There were tremendous natural resources in South Africa and spectacular beauty. South African society was fluid and accepting, allowing people to move from one tribe to the next, without discrimination. This accepting and truly benevolent moral system, perhaps turned out to be a fatal flaw, manipulated and abused by European colonists who arrived in 1652 and have left an indelible legacy on the nation of South Africa (Thompson, 33). Upon their arrival, the Dutch and then the English systematically exploited black South Africans, taking advantage of their welcoming demeanor. Blacks began to be pushed off their land and natural resources monopolized by whites. Then on a fateful day in 1866, a new discovery by Erasmus Jacobs took the manipulation and exploitation of South Africa to all new heights.

On this day, the Eureka diamond was discovered on the banks of the Orange River. The Eureka was 21.25 carats rough and confirmed earlier rumors of diamonds in South Africa and ignited the diamond rush ( With this rush came the advent of large mining corporations such as Anglo American Corporation and DeBeers, who created an intricate system that kept the Africans they employed in poverty, while destroying traditional African society, all the while earning tremendous amounts of money. These companies, De Beers in particular, are depicted today as the benevolent liberal foreign company, but in reality they systematically exploited South Africans and their resources. They are applauded throughout the world for their cu...

... middle of paper ...

...ngering presence of the stark inequalities that curse South Africa. However, if this is recognized and acknowledged, perhaps South Africa can take a critical step towards true equality, not just with words, but with economic opportunity.

Works Cited

De Beers Group. De Beers History. 5 March 2005.

Ferguson, James. “Introduction to Humanities: Encounters and Identities.”
Stanford University. Stanford. 14 February 2005 and 3 March 2005.

Mathabane, Mark. Kaffir Boy. Free Press (Simon & Schuster): New York, 1986.

Moodie, T. Dunbar. Going for Gold. University of California Press: Berkeley, CA, 1994.

Summa, John. “Anglo-American Corporation.” Multinational Monitor. Vol. 9: 9. September

Thompson, Leonard. A History of South Africa. Yale Nota Bene: New Haven, 2001.

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