People say I’m crazy
I got diamonds on the soles of my shoes
Well that’s one way to lose
These walking blues
Diamonds on the soles of our shoes
(‘Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes‘ – Paul Simon)
Paul Simon and South Africa’s Ladysmith Black Mambazo sang of the benefits to having diamonds on the soles of your shoes, but that rarely happens in real life, and certainly not to South Africa’s poor. That may change soon after word spreads of mysterious crystals found by a cattle herder in KwaHlathi village in KwaZulu-Natal province – crystals which many hope are diamonds. Coincidentally, KwaHlathi village is just outside of Ladysmith. Has anyone seen a little guy with a guitar who’s still crazy after all these years?
Eyewitness News and other media sites subscribed to the AFP news service quickly picked up on the story, but not nearly as fast as thousands of locals who rushed to KwaHlathi village with hopes of diamonds, even though no one has yet identified what the cattle herder nor anyone else has found. Officials asked the thousands of diggers to leave due to coronavirus concerns, but that only fed the suspicions that the government wanted to collect the stones for itself, and the crowds did not dissipate. In fact, more people came as word spread of “foreigners” buying the crystals for a few hundred rands in Ladysmith.
“There might be a probability of diamonds, ’cause it’s close to a river and we’re finding stones like this, but yeah. At the moment I think everyone is finding quartz, because obviously, crystals like this have a certain heat radia [sic], to them, so, we don’t have a reader at the moment, so yeah, we are waiting for that then we will know indefinitely.”
Africa News reports the comments of Hlengiwe Mlambo, a local resident, who sounds optimistically skeptical, although the stones have yet to be verified by experts from South Africa’s Department of Energy and Mines. With the country’s reputation for both being the world’s leading source of diamond and a longtime oppressor of the poor to enrich the controlling powers, it’s not surprising that so many would rather take the rands and run. One hundred rands is $7.30 US. A lot of money to these people, but far less than diamonds. If the stones aren’t diamonds, what are they? Will the government share the wealth — no matter what they are?
And I could say ooh ooh ooh
As if everybody here would know
What I was talking about
I mean everybody here would know exactly
What I was talking about
Talking about diamonds
Like Paul Simon and Ladysmith Black Mambazo, thousands in KwaHlathi village are talking about diamonds, while the ‘people’ in charge say they’re crazy. Sadly, both sides have heard this song before.