A new gold rush has begun...
...as thousands of South Africans have descended on the tiny village of KwaMachi in the far-south of KwaZulu-Natal hoping that the gold that has been discovered there will change their lives for the better
News24 reports that thousands of men and women, old and young, including school children from the village and surrounding villages, were busy digging for the precious metal with axes, pickaxes, shovels and chisels.
Umuziwabantu Mayor Dixie Nciki told News24 on Tuesday that about 5 000 people had gathered at the site on Monday night.
She said the gold frenzy began over the weekend when news of the discovery in KwaMachi spread to other areas in the province.
She said the site where the "gold" was discovered last Wednesday had been identified to be dug up for quarry stones that would be used to pave the gravel roads in the area.
"But construction workers did not get the usual black quarry that they are used to, instead they discovered a material that looked like gold. They then reported the matter to the area's inkosi (Zulu chief) Machi," said Nciki.
Hamza Manuel, 25, of Harding, told News24 that he had come to the village with his friends to get the "gold", so that they could make quick cash. He said they had arrived in a car on Wednesday morning and had carried lunch with them, because they were going to the site to work.
"We found gold here in Harding. The evidence is right here. As you can see, these stones have got a little bit of gold in them. Some people are actually finding bigger pieces. This is just a small sample of what's in there," he says while pointing at the site.
"There's actually gold here."
Another "gold" digger, 23-year-old Zithobe Radebe from Umzimkhulu, which is about an hour and a half away from Harding, told News24 that he and his friends had hired a bakkie to get to the "village of gold".
"I came here to dig gold here in KwaMachi. I used a pickaxe and a chisel to dig for it," he said.
He told News24 that he would sell his almost fist-sized "gold" stone that he dug up on Wednesday for R300 (around $25 - suggesting this is in fact 'fool's gold' or iron pyrite). He said he would use the stones he dug up on the day to live on since there were no employment...