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Victor Dlamini

@ Sunday Times Books LIVE

Why are there only Black Diamonds?

Sometimes you have to wonder at the goings on in the marketing world. I mean, why else do we only get black diamonds? Would not diamonds in other colours sparkle just as dazzlingly? Come on all ye marketing wizards. Ye needs must conjure up other kinds of diamonds? Let our world have an abundance of diamonds, and not just the black ones.

So instead of the Black Diamonds our country would be teeming with an assortment of diamonds that would add a wondrous lustre to our cities. Can you imagine what kind of arsenal the marketer would have at his disposal if they could begin to fully mine the concept of diamonds and slap various incarnations of it across our social strata. There would be no end in sight to what could be conjured up by the marketer with a powerful enough imagination.

Let your imagination carry you forth. We could have pale diamonds! I don’t know if pale qualifies as a colour, but certainly in my time I’ve come across enough people that are so short on colour that pale will do them just fine. What of blue diamonds, even azure ones? They too would have an incredible sparkle, their inner light radiating something of the mystery that has forever rendered the diamond almost unknowable. As for yellow diamonds, well, why not? For all I care they could even be a mixture of colours, a heady mix of all the strongest colours. A cacophony of colours, some cold, others warm, a few even hot, but still recognizably diamonds with colour.

Why am I asking for these other diamonds when you may well suspect that black diamonds enjoy all the attention showered on them as the only diamonds in town. I do so because deep down I do think that it will be best for all of us if we move to extend the diamond franchise to South Africans of all hues. To put it simply, ours is a binary world in which day follows night, joy follows pain, and so it is not right for Black Diamonds to be thrust out there with no corresponding opposite or sets of opposites to balance the scales.

All I ask is that the great marketers who have coined the idea of black diamonds should help us know how to negotiate our way round this complex world. Otherwise the concept of black diamonds feels a little hollow in its current incarnation when it suggests but denies us the necessary balance of the binary divide.

But are there other kinds of diamonds in South Africa, or are we stuck with the black diamonds? I wanted to find out, and so the other day on a fine, if slightly overheated day in Johannesburg, I went in search of any diamonds but the black ones. And before I could get much further than the borders of Sandton, I’d come across so many other diamonds that I was at a loss for why our marketers have chosen to restrict this most charming marker to only those that fit the bill of black diamond.

I have no doubt that anyone else who would go out in search of these diamonds would find them as easily as I did, whether it be in the ridges of Waterkloof, Umhlanga, Northcliff or the Southern Surburbs of Cape Town, or strewn across the glittering malls that have come to dominate the lives of so many South Africans.

How do you know that you’re in the presence of a South African diamond? Well, it’s quite simple really. The oversized cars, the obsession with the mobile phone, the (faux) designer clothing, the dazzling smiles that go hand in hand with shopping on credit (often extended credit- if you can fathom that).

These diamonds have much, much in common than the marketers would let us believe. So I say we’ve been duped into watching out for the black diamonds whilst all around us other South African diamonds go undetected, engaging recklessly in the pursuit of happiness that all South African diamonds have turned into a modern day religion

It is time that we realized that no one is safe from the diamonds, and that as South Africa has got to grips with the joys and the tribulations of democracy, it has had to accept that even in or corner of the world, it is OK for those that work hardest to splash out on themselves with their share of the democratic spoils. Those that denounce the hedonists forget that the pursuit of joy and happiness is a cornerstone of democratic discourse. Especially because ours is a decidedly secular state!

Let our marketers take note that as we bid 2009 goodbye, we should be ready to welcome all the other South African diamonds into the fold of diamonds. There is room for much more than only Black Diamonds.


Recent comments:

  • <a href="" rel="nofollow">Helen</a>
    December 30th, 2009 @10:50 #

    I'll settle for being a semi-precious stone. Opal, please -- mostly blues and greens and the occasional glint of fire.

  • <a href="" rel="nofollow">Helen</a>
    December 30th, 2009 @13:00 #

    Beeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeen! While you sun yourself, it's raining spam here...

  • <a href="" rel="nofollow">Louis Greenberg</a>
    Louis Greenberg
    December 30th, 2009 @13:45 #

    I want to get comments like "X is a very nice and useful post. It looks that you are highly expert blogger. Your post is an excellent example of why I keep coming back to read your excellent quality content that is forever updated." I would prentend that it was not coming from a spambot. And many spambots are very nice entities, I've heard.

  • <a href="" rel="nofollow">Victor Dlamini</a>
    Victor Dlamini
    January 1st, 2010 @09:22 #

    I have no truck with spam or spammers and to it's credit BOOKSA has a login for comments to nab the spammers. If they occassionally get through, well let's just consider them digital noise and no more. As always thanks for your comments Helen and Louis, it's a joy always to know you have someone that will read


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