$29.5 million worth of diamonds were seized by the Tanzanian government after the British company, Petra Diamonds were accused of greatly undervaluing the worth of the gems. The diamonds were confiscated on the 31st August at the Dar es Salaam International Airport whilst they were preparing to be exported to Belgium. On Sunday 10th September the Minister of finance Phillip Mpango stated that he had "nationalised" the diamonds that were extracted from the Williamson Diamonds mine- of which 70% is owned by Petra Diamonds and 25% by the Tanzanian government.

" Williamson Diamonds documents give these diamonds a value of $14.7 million (pre-market) while the actual value is $29.5 million," the Finance Ministry said in a press release on Saturday 9th September. An undervaluation of $14.8 million. President John Magufuli has sought a more accurate valuation of the country's natural resources.

President Magufuli has been very swift in his dealings with matters of corruption as two ministers have resigned on his orders after two parliamentary reports put them in question. President Magufuli demanded that all current government officials involved in corruption and should leave voluntarily without dismissal.

Diamond monopoly

This attempt by the British company to cheat the Tanzanians really got me thinking.

Not that Western greed and deceit as a means to an end is anything new as it relates to the natural resources of Africa, but why is this capitalistic pursuit of diamonds still so present? I'm not a miner myself but I did some digging of my own and found some gems of knowledge that really shines a light on how ridiculous this diamond monopoly is.

Diamonds are not rare. Hard to believe, right? However, it is true. In an economic sense, the gems that have caused so much death and war, are not as rare as many people have been made to believe them to be because the supply exceeds the demand. The diamond trade is what it is today as a result of De Beers Diamond Cartel company making the diamond industry.

Founded by Cecil Rhodes, a British white supremacist blinded by white ethnocentric beliefs, who controlled diamond mines in Kimberley, South Africa. Rhodes also helped prepare the way for apartheid by working to alter laws on voting and land ownership. The ruthless capitalist set up laws, taxes, and punishments forcing Africans to mine for what might as well have been no pay, in inhumanly dangerous conditions. The exploitation continues today.

Diamonds are forever

De Beers created an artificial sanctuary and stockpiled diamonds to later selling them in small amounts to give the illusion of rarity. Up until the mid-1800's diamonds were rare but the diamond rush that began in South Africa in the second half of the 19th century flooded the market with diamonds which, of course, kills demand.

It was only through shrewd marketing and advertising that the diamond's reputation was maintained. In fact, there are millions of diamonds locked in vaults in London.

It was one of the most effective campaigns in human history. During the Great Depression, the sales of diamonds had fallen and De Beers was desperate to revive the dying industry. The iconic tagline, " Diamonds are forever", was written by copywriter Frances Gerety in 1947 and it's fair to say that it achieved its goal. 70 years later the simple sentiment has become one of the most iconic and recognisable brand slogans as it served as a catalyst to the revival of this gem. The campaign is responsible for the modern day association of diamonds to engagement rings as the slogan has appeared in every De Beers engagement ad since 1948, and is still being used today.

After all, what is an engagement ring without this shiny rock on it? That is how true love is measured in this capitalistic world, right? The amount of love is directly proportional to the size of the diamond and this seems to be our understanding of love and affection in the West. The slogan even managed to work its way into the Kanye West song titled: "Diamonds from Sierra Leone," in which the slogan is repeated several times in the chorus.


The devaluation of the diamonds by the British company - a natural resource that in its entirety has been over valued for a very long time - is nothing short of ironic as diamonds aren't really as rare as we think they are. The western powers continue to steal from and cheat Africans out of their wealth.

Has Britain not gained enough already from their extrapolation of African resources and their centuries of theft from the continent? This was clearly a premeditated attempt to swindle a large amount of money from Tanzania.