Northern Cape Tourist AttractionsDiggers' Memorial
Where? Oppenheimer Gardens, Jan Smuts Boulevard, Kimberley 8300, Northern Cape.
Kimberley is the capital city of the beautiful, yet quiet, Northern Cape Province of South Arica, and is an international hotspot for the integral part it has played (and continues to play) in the diamond mining industry of the country. Thanks to its being one of the most productive sites in terms of the world’s diamond supply, it has a culture and heritage that is focussed on this magnificent treasure and how it has established and built the community and economy over the centuries.
The Diggers’ Memorial is one of the monuments that constitute part of this heritage, contributing to it in an important way. It depicts five life-sized miners holding up a diamond sieve, high above their heads. Their strength and power is seen as they work hard under the weight of the sieve. This is a working fountain, situated in the heart of the Ernest Oppenheimer Gardens. These gardens are a picturesque memorial to Sir Ernest Oppenheimer, who was a key figure in the local and international mining world, and the first mayor of Kimberley. The fountain was established to honour the miners, both past and present, who work hard in keeping this important industry alive.
The Diggers’ Memorial was designed by Herman Wald, a South African sculptor who was born in Hungary in 1906. Throughout his life, which ended in 1970, he created a number of scenes from the Bible. Other significant themes of his work include the plight of Eastern European Jews (having been a Jew himself), love, anti-war ideals, and family dynamics.
By honouring these ones in such a beautiful, poignant way, this memorial invites visitors to learn more about the physical and emotional contribution of the miners and their families; all set within the beauty of the Oppenheimer Gardens.