The year: 1866. They gathered… the men… in a remote area called
Kimberly, South Africa. They had picks and shovels and nothing more.
And they began. They dug. And they dug. And they dug some more. They
dug for 48 years… till 1914. And the open pit mine they dug yielded
2722 kg of diamonds. And this hole they dug became known as “The Big
Hole”. In its original state the hole was 463 meters wide and 240
meters deep. It had a surface area of 42 acres. Picks and shovels
folks. No modern machinery. No tractor thingees with scoops and
stuff. Just picks and shovels. No wonder them little shiny stones are
Esau Damoense was the cook for a prospecting company called the “Red
Cap Party”. He found a stone on the ground… a diamond as it were…
an 83.50 carat diamond. Esau Damoense was drunk. He had to be
punished. This was diamonds they were all about. One did not get
drunk while prospecting for diamonds. Never mind his latest find. Go.
Go over there. On that hill. And begin to dig. Till we say you’ve dug
enough. That was Esau’s punishment. And dig he did. And the diamond
rush began. And the hill ultimately disappeared. And in its stead…
The Big Hole.
And during all this… a siege by the Boers. 1899 to 1902. Women and
children were sent down into the mine for protection. Bombs bursting
in air. Rockets red glare. Well… maybe not with that ring to it.
And there were soup lines. And soup ration tickets.
The largest of the companies to operate a diamond mine in South
Africa … yup… you got it. DeBeers. Kimberly grew. Immigrants were
accepted with open arms. Cheap labor was needed to run the mines.
Cheap labor immigrants… and of course… prostitutes. The city was
flourishing. It was praised by one and all as a city of limitless
Diamonds anyone? A diamond for you sir… for the missus perhaps. A
pear-shape? A round? What’s that sir? You don’t have a young lady?
No one to buy a diamond for? No problem sir. Step this way. We have a
myriad of choices for you. Do you have a preference for any
ethnicity? We have all varieties. Kimberly is here to please. Step
right up folks. Diamond buyers to the right. Guests for ladies of the
night to the left.
Let’s not talk about the concentration camp at Kimberly built to
house Boer women and children after the siege. It’s another story for
another time. So… that said… by a show of hands… how many of
you would like to see a big huge mother of a hole dug to ultimately
yield over 3 tons of diamonds. Ye gads man… imagine the wealth.
For those of you who are new to this thing called Tidbits…may I
direct you to my home page at www.tyler-adam.com where you will
scroll down the left side menu till you get to the area that says
Current Tidbits… and you will get to view The Big Hole.
And there ya have it.
That’s it for this week folks.
Catch you all next week.