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In 1866, a farmer's son from Hopetown found a pretty stone on the banks of the Orange River which turned out to be a 21-carat diamond. By 1871, a "New Rush" on diamonds had started with thousands of men digging claims 30 feet by 30 feet.

The massive and flurried influx of people forced the hurried formation of a local government, but lacked a name. The Secretary General objected to the name "New Rush" but also to the local name "Vooruitzicht" which he could not pronounce. A government secretary was passed the job of deciding on a name for the new town. Easy choice. He named it after his boss, the Secretary General, Lord Kimberley. Pronunciation was not a problem any more.

The new town of Kimberley supported 5 "holes" - hand-dug diamond mines. By 1888, the ownership of all of the local mines were under the De Beers Company which still controls the majority of the diamond trade from mining, to cutting and setting, to selling. The largest of the mines in Kimberley was "Big Hole" which was 240 meters (787 feet or 60 stories) deep. It is no longer mined today and has been partly filled in with debris, then water to its current visible depth of 175 meters (574 feet.)

Addendum - one of the boys asked what happened to all of the debris that was excavated from the Big Hole. It was simply dumped around the Kimberley area and there are many hills of gravel around the city.
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Odd factoid: Kimberley was the first city in the Southern Hemisphere to have electric streetlights - 1882


St Cyprian's Grammar School is coeducational, housing grades 1-12. The history of schools in St. Cyprian's parish goes back to the 1870s, but the original schools were closed during the era of apartheid. The current school opened only two years ago in 2009. It maintains a special focus on the arts and music with frequent concerts. From St. Cyprian's website "music is often a key to a young person's academic success," "the level of team-work...involved in a music-making ensemble is of the highest one can get,' and "music transcends social barriers."

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Galeshewe is the satellite township next to Kimberley and was originally built under the apartheid laws to house the area's African population. It is still largely populated by African people. Parts of the township go back to 1871 though it was not named Galashewe until 1952. It was named after a Chief of the Batlhaping tribe. He was an important figure to the local African population and spent many years in jail after he rebelled against the Cape Colony Government several times to protect his people.

Galeshewe rose significantly in importance during the struggle against Apartheid, and was second only to Soweto as a center of political activism. It was home to Robert Sobukwe, the leader of the Pan African Congress (PAC), who spent the last days of his life under house arrest in Galeshewe, following his imprisonment on Robben Island. Sobuke practiced law from an office nearby. He died in 1978.


Kimberley - Wikipedia
Kimberley - City of the Diamonds
Big Hole - Wikipedia
The Big Hole - Diamonds & Destiny
St Cyprian's Grammar School
St Cyprian's Grammar School - Wikipedia

Possible resource - waiting for Karen Kaye in South Africa