Queen Elizabeth II’s death gathered a mix of feelings around the world. The historic role of the British monarchy and its relations with its former colonies is one of them. In South Africa, people are debating about the return of the world’s largest diamond, owned by the Queen.
Known as ‘The Great Star of Africa’, the gem has 530 carats, mined in South Africa in 1905. It has an estimated worth of $400 million.
“The Cullinan Diamond must be returned to South Africa with immediate effect,” activist Thanduxolo Sabelo told local media, adding that: “The minerals of our country and other countries continue to benefit Britain at the expense of our people.”
According to the Royal Collection Trust, the Cullinan diamond was a gift to King Edward VII in 1907. It was two years after its discovery in a private mine in South Africa’s old Transvaal province. The Royal Collection Trust oversees the royal collection of the British royal family.
A University of South Africa professor of African politics, Everisto Benyera, rejects the narrative. He told CNN those colonial transactions were illegitimate and immoral. “Our narrative is that the whole Transvaal and Union of South Africa governments and the concomitant mining syndicates were illegal,” Benyera said.