Friday, August 14, 2009

Botswana, South Africa

Botswana is currently struggling because people aren't buying diamonds because of the economic collapse around the world. I want to start this post positive because I do think Debeers was trying to do good, the only thing they decided to do it on a tight budget. The plan apparently was to get some Hollywood celebrity types to be part of the marketing campaign to brand Botswana's diamonds. Tight money meant they got C List stars, the ones who make a big splash in places like Boise, Idaho. In this case, it was a football player named Reggie Bush and his IQ challenged, reality show, girlfriend Kim Kardashian.
They got flown into Botswana and toured the mines. According to Big League Screw they even got a few diamonds to take home as souvenirs. Once home the happy couple immediately broke up and for that I give Mr. Reggie Bush two points.

Bright Spark Kardashian decided to speak about her trip;that was where she erred. While on the trip she decided to pop in at Twitter and dropped this gem, “We are here in Botswana, South Africa! Wow what a long flight!” . Oops... I guess that branding of Botswana diamonds spiel sort of went in one ear and out the other.

To add to the mess, on her blog she tried to explain why Botswana, South Africa's diamonds are not 'blood diamonds' :

July 19, 2009 6:30 PMKim Kardashian said to: sarah_jane Reply
I am so glad you are saying this, because us going down there to spread the word is our mission. I too thought the same as you, thinking about Blood Diamonds, and wondering how can buying diamonds really help the community? However everyone there encouraged us to talk about the fact that when these diamonds are purchased they can then fund schools, rehab center, hospitals etc. This is their sole funding source and people in the US are so afraid to purchase the diamonds, thinking they are blood diamonds, but that's just wrong. First of all, in the movie they sifted diamonds in the water to find them, so basically anyone willing to stand in water all day looking for diamonds they would hire. That is the old way, there are mines now, where a 6 month training process has to take place before anyone can even get the job of a miner. These mines have given thousands of jobs to the community which in itself is helping A LOT!

I'm glad she's cleared that up for us. According to her in the past in Botswana there were blood diamonds, when we were finding the diamonds by sifting with water, but now that the miners get a six moth training course everything is fine. WHAT? I really think if Debeers had the money to pop out to get her here couldn't they have forced her to listen to the history behind diamonds in the country and perhaps give her a short exam to be sure she got it? Multiple choice if it had to be, but really.

The comments at the blog after that just go downhill:

July 19, 2009 6:56 AMMisspeak says: Reply
Of course if a diamond company is paying for your trip they're not going to mention the people slaughtered in order to obtain those diamonds. The ignorance in this post is completely disgusting and sad.

July 18, 2009 2:45 PMjrrrca says: Reply
free trip, free hotel, free diamonds, free publicity, but guess what? u still got used, smiled pretty for the camera while still poor children and workers are basically slaves for these companies that are 'conflict-free'

July 17, 2009 8:20 PMbetzy95 says: Reply
Hey kim,I m sooo happy that u were helping out children over there in africa!! N i didnt now that diamonds helped africa out...i m gong to go out n buy some. LOL

At least Ms Kardashian got her publicity so the people in Boise will be pleased. As for the marketing of Botswana diamonds let's see what we learned:

1. Botswana is located in the country of South Africa.

2. It's easy to recognise blood diamonds, they're the ones that are sifted in water. (Duh!)

3. Workers in Botswana, since they are given a 6 month training course, no longer need to sift diamonds in water therefore the diamonds from Botswana are not blood diamonds.

4. Botswana, South Africa's sole source of funding comes from diamonds. They do not collect taxes, or have any other industry or mines. There is no commerce to speak of. We have no services provided from government income. Everything comes from diamond money- even the rehab centres. (?)

5. And, of course, Ms Kardashian, the humanitarian will be remembered for all the help she gave to the poor suffering children of Africa (that nebulous black hole where only suffering and hunger can be found).

My only question is how much money did Debeers splash out on this nitwit and who can we expect next- Paris Hilton?


Helen Ginger said...

Lauri, this had me laughing. Sorry. I know I should be outraged at this nitwit, but your telling of it was hilarious. It really does say a lot about our society (and apparently yours as well) that we value the opinion of nitwits. If DeBeers had done a tad of research, I believe they could have found a celebrity with a couple of clicking braincells. And if we didn't keep printing magazines and paying papparazi to keep nitwits in the public eye, we'd be a whole lot better off. Very sad.

Straight From Hel

Elizabeth Bradley said...

Who listens to a girl who's claim to fame is her big butt? Scary to think, but people do. Such idiocy causes one to laugh, because otherwise you'd cry. DeBeers should have gone to a little more trouble to find somebody with a half of brain to promote their diamonds. This world-wide economic downturn is so far-reaching, it's frightening.

Lauri Kubuitsile said...

Helen- I think with globalisation has come global stupidity, unfortunately.

Elizabeth-Do you know of this person? I'd never heard of her at all until she was suddenly in our local papers as the person who would be part of the marketing of our diamonds. The amazing thing is former Miss Universe, Mpule Kgwelegobe, is an intelligent beautiful Motswana woman. Why didn't they think of using her? One can wonder.

bonita said...

Ms Kardashian is an accidental celebrity. Her dad is the lawyer who carried OJ's Simpson's black garment bag, the one in which police hoped to find bloody clothes. Her step-dad is Bruce Jenner, an Olympic winner. She and her sisters 'star' in a reality show produced by Ryan Seacrest (think American idol) based on living and shopping in Southern California. My guess is that deBeers PR had someone who knows them and this was more personal than business....

Someday would you explain the difference between Botswana, Motswana, and Setswana? Which is correct when?

Lauri Kubuitsile said...

Bonita- Thanks for that information. It sort of makes the whole thing sadder.

As for your question, I will try my best. Perhaps native Setswana speakers will help me if I am off base.

Setswana- is used for the language and the culture

Botswana- it is the place where Tswana people live

Batswana- many Tswana people, or many citizens of Botswana.

Motswana- one Tswana person or a citizen of Botswana

Val said...

well they say any publicity is good publicity.... lets hope so!!
i have no idea who this person is but(butt?).......sorry words fail me.
fabulous post - thanks Lauri!

Selma said...

Kim Kardashian is so stupid it is unbelievable. She and her generation have a lot to answer for - talk about dumbing down. It's only a matter of time until she's doing porn - seriously.....

De Beers should have known what she was like before they hired her. They had a lot riding on this promotion. A diamond is an expensive purchase and I certainly wouldn't consider anything endorsed by that nitwit.

This must have made you so angry. I am angry for you.

GutsyWriter said...

Great post as usual. I had no idea she was sent to promote diamonds and I live in southern California. Shows how much I read people magazine or other stuff like that.

Lauri Kubuitsile said...

The other thing people outside Botswana would be intersted to know is that we have no rehab centres- if she means for drugs and alcohol- in the whole of Botswana. Another issue all together actually but just another dimension to this woman's ignorance.

You're right, Selma, it is a very serious issue. The Botswana government gets about 60% of it's revenue from diamonds. The market for diamonds almost disappeared during this crisis.

Everyone is affected by this. I personally had a big project I'd been chosen to do (a 26 part radio drama) withdrawn as the government had no money. I'm a full time writer so you can imagine the effect that had on my income. I have five newly prescribed books for the Ministry of Education for this next school year. I'm really banking on good royalty cheques but if diamonds don't sell, the government can't buy books and I have no income. So I take this fiasco very personally as all Batswana do.

Miss Footloose said...

If this type of ignorance weren't so sad, not to speak of dangerous, it would be funny. Here's an incident I read about:

Group of foreigners/expats are talking. An African man mentions Swaziland.

American: In America we call that Switzerland.

African: In Africa we call you stupid.

'nough said.

Lauri Kubuitsile said...

Miss Footloose- Now THAT is funny!