We left on Wednesday afternoon of last week, after my SO* finished working. Because we had a late start, we decided to go no further than Kimberley. I’ll give you the history in a (tiny) nutshell, as it is extensive and I’m not knowledgeable enough to give all the facts correctly, but you can read the details here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kimberley,_Northern_Cape It makes for some interesting reading.
Kimberley is a town in the Northern Cape Province of South Africa. It is significant for so many reasons, but mainly because of diamonds. A young boy picked up (literally!) a diamond in the area in 1866, and soon after an even bigger one was picked up near where the first was found, and people started streaming to Colesbergkoppie in their thousands. Soon it was a bustling town, with people trying to find their fortunes.
Two very well-known and important persons played a HUGE part in the history of Kimberley, namely Barney Barnato and Cecil John Rhodes. They both became very rich and influential in the town, coming from very different directions. Barney worked abandoned claims. He worked 7 days a week, with one helper, and eventually through sheer dogged persistence, he made his fortune. Cecil on the other hand, came from different stock, and became rich and important through connections. Initially they were fierce opponents, but they realized that they could be stronger if they worked together, and in short, the De Beer’s Diamond Company was founded.
The diamond mine was started by people working their individual claims. It then became an open cast mine of vast proportions, keeping in mind that it was worked by people, not machines! They climbed into the depths, loosened the dirt with picks and shovels, and carried out buckets of dirt that was sifted at the top, to find the shiny little stones. Many people died there, and many came away poorer than they were at the start. But – a few made their fortunes.
Kimberley became a town that is still a busy one today. It developed around the ‘Big Hole’, as it’s know today and the lay-out of the town is quite weird and confusing! 🙂
I’m going to leave the history there, except for one other very important fact: Kimberley was the first town in the Southern Hemisphere to get electrical street lights!!!
Here are some of the pictures I took there – I hope you find them interesting.
Around the Hole, there is a huge museum, with a reproduction of the old town, with authentic fittings and interiors, as well as a reproduction of what the mine would have looked like after they went underground, and a display of diamonds – real ones, that are very well guarded!! 🙂
Well, that’s it for today! Let me know if you find posts like these interesting or boring, please!!! Would hate to bore y’all!!! 🙂