‘Africa produces world-class diamonds yet most Africans have never seen or touched a diamond’
By Petronella Sibeene
A six-member delegation comprising of youths from Angola and Zimbabwe this week visited Namibia’s only cutting and polishing diamond company Lev Leviev Diamonds (LLD).
The youths representing the national youth leagues in their countries were in Namibia to witness the just ended Swapo party youth league congress.
The factory has become popular and is a must visit for most African presidents and other prominent individuals in the region who come to Namibia.
General Manager of LLD, Mike Nesongano, says Africa produces world-class diamonds yet most Africans have never seen or touched a diamond.
“Most people do not know how diamonds feel like. We have them but we do not know them,” he said.
Jabulani Mangena, National Coordinator of the Zanu-PF Youth League in Zimbabwe, was impressed by the operations at the factory, saying it is a good direction for Africa.
By having a factory like this gives Africa some mileage with regard to adding value to products sourced from the continent.
Africa has for long depended on other countries to add value to its unfinished products.
He said if all diamond producing countries in the SADC region and the continent at large could have diamond polishing and cutting factories, poverty would be reduced and employment creation could be enhanced.
Once jobs are created in the industry, this would help maintain peace and stability in all countries.
Mangena said LLD is currently in negotiations with Zimbabwe to open a similar factory in that country at Zvishavane mine.
The move will help bring in the much-needed forex, he added.
Yaba Alberto from Angola shared the same sentiments with Mangena, adding that Africa has been colonized for many years and the time has come to prove to the world that the continent can manage its own affairs.
LLD Diamonds started as a training factory in 2004, in view of the then lack or scarcity of skilled people in polishing and cutting diamonds in Namibia.
The company has been offering scholarships to trainees, after which they undergo three levels of training before they become qualified to international standard.
There are 30 young Namibians who have undergone nine months of intensive training and today can polish and cut the precious stones professionally.
The factory each month cuts and polishes between 10 000 and 15 000 carats.