By John Ikani
Thousands of treasure seekers have flocked to KwaHlathi village in South Africa, believing the area could contain diamonds.
The people travelled from across South Africa to join villagers who have been digging since Saturday, after a cattle herder last week unearthed a handful of unidentified crystal-like stones.
The discovery was a life changer, said one digger Mendo Sabelo as he held a handful of tiny stones.
“This means our lives will change because no one had a proper job, I do odd jobs. When I returned home with them, (the family was) really overjoyed,” said the 27-year old father of two.
The stones haven’t been analysed by geological experts yet, and authorities have asked people on site to leave so that a proper investigation can be carried out.
The provincial government also shared a video of the area on Twitter, expressing concern over what it has called a “diamond rush.”
They tweeted that they had “noted with concern, the reports of illegal mining activity taking place at KwaHlathi outside Ladysmith.”
South Africa’s economy has long suffered from extremely high levels of unemployment, trapping millions in poverty and contributing to stark inequalities that persist nearly three decades after the end of apartheid in 1994. The coronavirus pandemic has made it worse.
Some people have started selling the stones, with the starting price ranging from 100 rand ($7.29) to 300 rand.