Wednesday, February 18, 2009


Survival International has urged Spain’s Oscar hopeful, Penélope Cruz, not to wear Graff Diamonds when she attends the star-studded awards event.

The NGO claims that the celebrated jeweller is part of a new diamond mine which is being constructed inside the Central Kgalagadi Game Reserve and could jeopardize the return of Basarwa Bushmen to their ancestral land.

Graff Diamonds recently bought a 10 percent stake in Gem Diamonds, the company which Survival International claims will construct the new mine inside the Central Kgalagadi Game Reserve.

Around 3,000, Basarwa were evicted from the Central Kgalagadi Game Reserve in 2002 and resettled elsewhere. Then in late 2006, the High Court in Lobatse ruled the eviction was illegal, paving the way for their return - although many have yet to do so.

Survival International says that plans for a diamond mine in the reserve will create a new obstacle for Basarwa’s return to their homeland.There is no suggestion that Graff, or Gem Diamonds, has forced the Basarwa off their land, but Survival International believe Graff’s share holding means it has a “moral imperative” to consider the fate of the bushmen and presumably bush women too.

I have to admit to knowing the owner of Graff Diamonds, Laurence Graff, very well. Not that I’ve ever met the celebrated jeweller and art collector. Rather CNBC has shown a documentary on him four times in the last nine days, and I happened to tune in each time. I think we are now family!

As for Penélope, or Pe as she is known in Spain, I suspect her eyes will be on the gold coated Oscar rather than diamonds on awards night.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Those of us who remember the work and writings of Laurence van de Post, must support the Bushmen and their culture. Together with the Hottentots, they are the only remaining examples of 5 world racial groups, the Khoisansiforms. Their water supply in the Kalahari was collected from the night dew using pierced ostrich eggs. They are today being exploited as badly as any other human endengered species.