The morning sun fought for dominance over the smoggy haze. The air was still thick with the dampness of the previous night’s first spring rain.
The 10-year-old black girl was without expression as she rambled through what was once a happy, laughing place.
The rising moisture lifted faint remnants of the acrid, charred remains that had haunted the Eshowe township.
A prismatic glint, first sharp then dull, caught the prepubescent girl’s eye. Exploring with a young, smooth hand, she tentatively probed the hardened ashes, attempting to loosen what she had found.
It was her prize. The crusty mess, barely recognisable as a piece of leather, clung to the clear stones as she lifted it into the morning sunshine. Finding a comfortable patch of earth next to what remained of the old concrete gutter, the street child started to crack and chip away the tough substance.
To the youngster’s delight, first just one shiny, uncut diamond was revealed. She persisted until she held the second and the third stone. She cherished the find.
As the muddy gutter water rinsed off the last bits of blackness, the girl spread the uncut diamonds and carefully dried them on the tattered fabric of her shredded vest. She marvelled at the gems. They were each larger than the end of her little finger.
The child thought: Something about the way the Sun speaks to these stones is special.
She gathered up the diamonds and started walking.