South African Mining

303 words | 2 page(s)

The coming of Europeans to the African continent marked a significant change in the native’s lifestyle. The current economy, social and political state changed drastically after the discovery of precious minerals such as diamond and gold. This was evident in South Africa where before the arrival of the Dutch and other Europeans, the primary activity was farming corn which they used in almost all their dishes. After their arrival, there was significant change such as the coming up of towns such as Johannesburg where gold was mined and Kimberly where diamonds were extracted.

The film and the book Stones of Contention both show the revolution and the transition that mining brought to the then current world. The workers were exposed to harsh working conditions such as heat and very long hours and but this improved to the end of colonialism and the apartheid in the Kimberly and Johannesburg mines. The book explains how diamonds changed the political scenes during the colonial period and was used to fuel post-apartheid and cold war weapons, hence receiving the title ‘blood diamonds.’

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The diamonds and gold were shipped to Europe and other colonies that helped in the expansion of the country trade allies. Since the discovery of diamonds in Kimberly, 1866 there has been a steady development of ports such as the one in Cape Town and Cape of Good Hope due to the increased trade that was going on internationally. This opened up the country to a better economic lifestyle that was not so lucrative for the natives who were still struggling with impossible working conditions in the mines and others in grape vineyards and orange plantations. The two sources depict the struggle that was present but also shows how colonialism came to assist in the development of the country through the mining of these minerals.

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