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Diamonds And Dust: 37 – Group Achievements

…Looking back, the company was quite lucky as there were almost no drugs, only a bit of alcohol and no fighting or unruly behaviour. We were mischievous and rather naughty, but not really bad and didn’t ask for much…

The workers at the diamond mine in Affenrucken could be boisterous but there were no alcohol and rugs problems, as Malcolm Bertoni reveals.

To read earlier chapters of Malcolm's vivid account of diamond mining in Namibia please visit http://www.openwriting.com/archives/diamonds_and_dust/

To obtain a copy of his book click on http://www.equilibriumbooks.com/diamonds.htm

For a year or so we had a movie projector and got a movie from town to show on Sunday evenings. We had to show it on Sundays as the movie had to be returned back to town on the Monday morning. It used to be a bit fiddly setting up the projector, and the quality and sound was often rather crap. Compared to today with everything digital and DVDs with great picture and audio quality, it would seem like the stone ages, but it was better than nothing.

The movie was as a result of an Affenrucken representative group that was formed to represent everyone staying at Affenrucken. The group consisted of four guys and used to meet every month at No 1 plant with some of the mine managers, administrators and superintendents.

I was one of the members of the group that spoke for all the Affenrucken guys, and it was interesting to see how the rest of the mine viewed us. We were basically just a bunch of young and ignorant nobodies and generally just tolerated by management. It was a battle to get any compromises or concessions out of management, who basically viewed us with contempt.

But at least we achieved a few things, such as getting the swimming pool heated, the movie projector along with a movie each Sunday and a few other small things like old weights and gym equipment. Looking back, the company was quite lucky as there were almost no drugs, only a bit of alcohol and no fighting or unruly behaviour. We were mischievous and rather naughty, but not really bad and didn’t ask for much.

I know that today many mining companies in South Africa and Australia are struggling to stay on top of the alcohol and drugs problem. Perhaps it’s a sign of the times.

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