In the Heart of the Diamond Empire - Page Two

Living Conditions for De Beers diamond miners in Kimberley.

A street scene in one of the many townships inhabited by Blacks around the diamond mines of Kimberley - while on the other side of the town there is quite another standard of housing - and excellent De Beers bowling and tennis facilities.


A railway coach on display in Kimberley - and a typical house for a white family in Kimberley

every morning hundreds of women walk from the townships to work as servants in white households

A Kimberley street

names after Ernest Oppenheimer. Another suburb was named after De Beers


children in the townships where live diamond mineworkers - and, below, the headquarters of De Beers in Kimberley

An apartheid-era diamond mine barracks like building still very much in use at a local diamond mine below. This is one side of a fort like building with an inner courtyard and a fortified gate. The miners here danced and sung me a song mocking their low wages.

Below is the accompanying shower facility for the miners. It was only cold water - and reached by crossing a stinking drain.

The miners complained to me that many of them did not even have matresses - this diamnd miner was using sheets of cardboard. This was at a mine owned by Canadians.

there is not much space for private thought

or for preparing the evening meal.


But many of them put their hope in the leaders of the ANC.

In some mines the workers have wire cages in their dormatories in which to keep their personal possessions. This was much needed - I saw no signs of wardrobes or cupboards or of any other private space.

And some on night shift just had to grab sleep when and as they could. This was at a mine particularly well-known for producing large diamonds in deep and dangerous conditions.



Click here to go on to the Koffiefontein De Beers diamond mine.

Here for De Beers Klienzee diamond mine.

Here to the Finsch De Beers mine

Here back to diamond mineworkers in and around Kimberley

Click her to go back to the home page for this diamond website


To Contact the Author Janine F. Roberts Tap Here

c2002 Janine Roberts

All Photographs are by Janine Roberts c2002 All Rights Reserved