What is the problem?
The Cullinan Diamond is the largest diamond ever found. It transcends material value and it is a national treasure. The only problem is that it is a national treasure of Great Britain and not of South Africa, where it was found.
It was never paid for by the British government or the monarchy.
It was an extravagant
gift that was given to the
reigning British monarch by Louis Botha - leader of the Transvaal
Government (at this stage a quasi-independent regional authority).
This war, called the
Anglo-Boer War (1899 - 1902) caused the deaths of over 40 000 women,
elderly men and children of all races in concentration
camps and the Queen's soldiers
ravaged the economy of South Africa through a 'scorched
We state that if the people had a
choice, the Cullinan Diamond would never have left the shores of South
Africa. We also state that this whole transaction is a prime example of
colonial excesses and provides clear proof of the rampant mismanagement
that accompanied colonialism.
Why are we doing this?
Currently, South Africa has good
relations with the United Kingdom and its people.
But we are driven, not by revenge, but by a desire for justice. We demand that an injustice that South Africa's people endured as a result of British colonialism, be rectified.
The money factor.
The amount paid for the diamond by the colonial authority in 1905 was $ 750 000. It must be clearly stated that the diamond was paid for in South African money, not British. The equivalent amount today would be $ 20 million. If one calculates what the original amount would be with accumulated interest over a period of 95 years, it would be a staggering 1.2 billion dollars.
The current estimated value of all the cut and uncut stones that once constituted the Cullinan Diamond is incalculable.
We feel that it would be futile to request the diamonds back, which forms an intricate part of the Crown Jewels. Whether rightly or wrongly, it has become an important element of British culture and tourism.
We propose that the British Government simply do what should have been done 95 years ago, and that is to pay for it. The amount should be an adequate reflection of the loss that South Africans suffered.
Who should get it?
The people who have suffered the brunt of economic hardship should be the ones to benefit. The Nelson Mandela Children's Fund could be a beneficiary. Another just cause could be a housing scheme for the homeless. The British Government should have an active part in the development of such a scheme, and should receive due acknowledgement for their participation in helping the downtrodden of South Africa.
A Just Cause.
The hardship that resulted from South Africa's economic loss all those years ago, would be difficult to measure. The irrevocable loss of a national symbol and the possible tourism generated by it, is incalculable. Payment by Britain could compensate - in a small way - for South Africa's loss and restore some dignity to the Faded Star of Africa.
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