Hundreds of people flock to tiny village after incredible find

·3-min read

Diamond fever has gripped a small village after a number of mystery stones were found in a field and reported on social media.

More than 1000 people have travelled across South Africa to join prospectors in the village of KwaHlathi, near Ladysmith, since the first stone was discovered on Saturday (local time).

Reports indicate picks, shovels and even forks are being used to dig into the earth as people of all ages search for the sparkling white stones.

A crowd of people in the desert in South Africa. Source: Reuters
More than 1000 people are believed to have arrived in search of the stones. Source: Reuters

As news of the coveted stones spreads, some have shared their finds online.

In one video posted to Twitter, a man tells his wife to "burn everything" because they had struck it rich, Mining.com reported.

While the finds are yet to be identified, many are tantalised by the prospect of uncovering a fortune and being saved from poverty, which continues to impact many in the African nation.

Despite the elation, debate continues as to whether the stones are worthless quartz crystal or expensive diamonds.

Mystery surrounds the large white stones found in a small South African village. Source: Reuters
Mystery surrounds the large white stones found in a small South African village. Source: Reuters

Lines of 'diamond' hunters snake along road

The first stone was reported to have been discovered by a solitary “herd man” last week. 

Now long lines of parked cars have been seen along the road to the village and several stones have already been sold for prices starting at 100 ($10) to 300 rand ($30).

Holding a handful of the stones, a struggling father of two, Mendo Sabelo, told Reuters the discovery could be a “life changer”.

“This means our lives will change because no one had a proper job, I do odd jobs,” he said.

“When I returned home with them, (the family was) really overjoyed.”

Authorities call for order amid superspreader, stampede fears

As joyfulness spreads and the stones are pocketed, local authorities have now asked diggers to leave the area, fearing the large group could incubate coronavirus.

As a third-wave threatens the coronavirus-hit nation, it is feared a "superspreader" event could put the wider community at risk.

Taking to Twitter, the KwaZulu-Natal provincial government called for order, adding the mining was illegal.

Authorities say they are concerned the influx of people will spread coronavirus. Source: Reuters
Authorities say they are concerned the influx of people will spread coronavirus. Source: Reuters

The state's premier Sihle Zikalala said in a statement on Sunday he was "deeply concerned" after seeing images of people from neighbouring villages flocking to the site. 

"We are worried that if not brought under control the situation could result in chaos and a possible stampede," he said.

South Africa's mines department said they are sending a team comprising of geological and mining experts to the area to begin taking samples of the rocks for analysis.

with Reuters

Do you have a story tip? Email: newsroomau@yahoonews.com.

You can also follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and download the Yahoo News app from the App Store or Google Play.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting