The diamond set in the crown that King Charles III will wear has sparked a lot of controversy at the African Gate, as some South Africans demanded that Britain return the largest diamond in the world, known as the Star of Africa, and contained in the royal scepter that King Charles III will carry at his coronation on Saturday.
According to the British newspaper The Independent, the diamond, which weighs 530 carats, was discovered from South Africa in 1905, and was presented by the colonial government in the country that was then under British rule to the British monarchy.
Now, amid a global conversation about returning art and artefacts that were looted during the colonial era, some South Africans are calling for the diamonds to be returned.
“The diamond should come to South Africa, as it should be a sign of our pride, our heritage and our culture,” said Muthusi Kamanga, a lawyer and activist in Johannesburg who promoted an online petition, which has garnered some 8,000 signatures.
Kamanga added: “I think in general that African people are beginning to realize that decolonization does not mean only allowing people certain freedoms, but also taking back what was taken away from us.”
Officially known as the Cullinan I, the diamond in the scepter was cut from the Cullinan Diamond, a 3,100-carat stone quarried near Pretoria.
A smaller diamond was cut from the same stone, known as the Cullinan II, in the Imperial State Crown worn by British monarchs on ceremonial occasions and, along with the scepter, it is kept with the other crown jewels in the Tower of London.
According to the report, a replica of the entire Cullinan diamond, which is roughly the size of a man’s fist, may be on display at the Cape Town Diamond Museum.
“I think she should be brought back home because in the end they took her from us, while they were persecuting us,” said Mohammed Abdullah, a resident of Johannesburg. Others said they didn’t feel strongly about it.
“I don’t think it matters anymore, things have changed as we evolve, what mattered to them in the old days about superiority doesn’t matter to us anymore,” said local resident Diketsing Nzadzaba.