The World Diamond Council said in a statement it “joins with the people of South Africa” in mourning the death of Nelson Mandela.
The organization, which represents the industry before the Kimberley Process, said the former South African president and antiapartheid activist, who died Dec. 6 at age 95, was a “great leader” who “transformed a country and region that once stood on the brink of disaster into a symbol of hope and progress.”
As president of South Africa, Mandela often spoke about the industry’s importance to the South African economy.
In 2006, Mandela sent letters to Alan F. Horn, president and CEO of Warner Bros., which produced the film Blood Diamond, and Edward Zwick, who directed the film, warning that the film could have negative implications for the South African economy.
“It would be deeply regrettable if the making of the film inadvertently obscured the truth, and, as a result, led the world to believe that an appropriate response might be to cease buying mined diamonds from Africa,” the letter read. “We hope that the desire to tell a gripping and important real-life historical story will not result in the destabilization of African diamond-producing countries, and, ultimately their peoples.”’
In an interview with JCK, Zwick dismissed the letter as “a little bit silly.”