Monday, 28 June 2010

Day 18 - Kimberley


Today's matches:

Holland 2 v. Slovakia 1
Brazil 3 v. Chile 0

Kimberley is the capital of the Northern Cape. It is located near the confluence of the Vaal and Orange Rivers.

In 1866, Erasmus Jacobs found a small brilliant pebble on the banks of the Orange River, on the farm De Kalk leased from local Griquas, near Hopetown, which was his father's farm. He showed the pebble to his father who sold it. The pebble was purchased from Jacobs and turned out to be a 21.25 carat diamond. In 1871, an even larger 83.50 carat (16.7 g) diamond was found on the slopes of Colesberg Kopje on the farm Vooruitzigt belonging to the De Beers brothers who were prospecting at the time and this news sparked off the famous "New Rush" which, was practically a stampede. Within a month 800 claims were cut into the hillock which were worked frenetically by two to three thousand men. As the land was lowered so the hillock became a mine – in time, the world renowned Kimberley Mine.

The Cape Colony, Transvaal, Orange Free State and the Griqua leader Nikolaas Waterboer all laid claim to the diamond fields. Following the mediation that was overseen by the governor of Natal the decision went in favour of Waterboer, who placed himself under British protection. Colonial Commissioners arrived in New Rush in 1871, to exercise authority over the territory on behalf of the Cape Governor. New Rush became Kimberley, by Proclamation dated 5 July 1873.

As miners arrived in their thousands, the hill disappeared, and became known as the Big Hole. From mid-July 1871 to 1914, 50,000 miners dug the hole with picks and shovels, yielding 2,722 kg of diamond. The Big Hole has a surface of 42 acres and is 463 metres wide. It was excavated to a depth of 240 m, but then partially infilled with debris reducing its depth to about 215 m; since then it has accumulated water to a depth of 40 m leaving 175 m visible. Beneath the surface, the Kimberly Mine underneath the Big Hole was mined to a depth of 1097 metres. It yielded 400 tons of diamonds. By 1873, Kimberley was the second largest town in South Africa; it had a total population of 13,000 whites and 30,000 blacks.

The various smaller mining companies were algamated into De Beers, and The Kimberley under Cecil Rhodes and Charles Rudd. In 1888, the two companies merged to form De Beers Consolidated Mines, which to this day today still retains a monopoly over the world's diamond market. Very quickly, Kimberley became the largest city in the area, partly due to a massive African migration to the area from all over the continent. The immigrants were accepted with open arms, because the De Beers company was in search of cheap labour to help run the mines. Another group drawn to the city for money was prostitutes, from a wide variety of ethnicities who could be found in bars and saloons. The mine was closed in 1914, while three of the holes – Du Toitspan, Wesselton and Bultfontein – closed down in 2005.

On 14 October 1899, Kimberley was besieged at the beginning of the Second Boer War. The British forces trying to relieve the siege suffered heavy losses. The siege was only lifted on 15 February 1900, but the war continued until May 1902.

The Kimberley Comprehensive Urban Plan (1998) estimates that Kimberley has 210,800 people representing 46,207 households living in the city.

On 2 September 1882, Kimberley became the first town in the southern hemisphere to install electric street lighting.

'Standing next to the gaping, empty mouth of a spectacle called the Big Hole. Large void -reminding us of the emptiness there remains in the hearts of those who seek wealth and pleasure in the wrong place.

Kimberley - a place full of empty promises where giant corporations once raped and pillaged the wealth of God's earth - leaving empty, hollow hearts - hearts that will continue to be restless until they find their rest in God.

God has planted us a church to bring a message that those who are poor may know that they are blessed by God and that the kingdom of heaven is theirs. We are called to remind people that they are blessed when they hunger and thirst after righteousness for they shall be satisfied. God will fill the gaping holes in our lives and give us what we need when we continue to trust him.

Kimberley - out of the way - remote - forgotten dumping ground of hope - dumping ground of those to be forgotten such as Robert Sobukwe (lead of Pan African Congress): birthplace of hope - birthplace of Sol Plaatjie, leader, poet, statesman....

Kimberley, remote, forgotten - no rugby tours, no soccer tournaments; but a place remembered by God; close to God's heart - precious stones in human form... '

We pray:

  • For a sharing of the world's resources, particularly with the poor
  • For those whose hope has been snatched away through illness, bereavement, unemployment, or external circumstances
  • For those living and working in Kimberley, particularly those with influence, resources and power and that these may be used wisely
  • For the Diocesan staff and local clergy, that they may have a part to play in the wider community and decision making process
  • For young people tempted by what a larger town has to offer, that they may have security, wisdom and skills to make good decisions now and in the future.

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