Jagersfontein – the forgotten gem of the Free State
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The early mining history of the Free State Province is not well represented in the annals of the mining history of South Africa. As such, only a select few would be aware of the role Jagersfontein played in the diamond mining industry worldwide. In this article, historical research is used as research strategy where the variable focus of the research is time, and specific events are interpreted within a temporally defined situation and environment. The history of Jagersfontein is relayed as a historical narrative, following its development from its conception as a diamond digging in 1869 to the present day. Events and aspects related to its development are interrogated and analysed against a backdrop of historical events that had an influence on its growth; including pointing out the human factor in determining the course of history to gain some understanding of the derelict and forgotten town Jagersfontein is today. It raises the question of the degree of corporate social responsibility mining companies have towards the people of the towns they created and abandoned prior to new legislation in this regard. In closing, it proposes that redefining Jagersfontein as a tourist destination as historic mining town is not only a means of creating job opportunities, but will also enable Jagersfontein to take its rightful place in the history of South Africa.