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Columnist: Digging Deep

Davenport is a freelance journalist and mining historian -


Digging Deep - Jade Davenport

Merensky – the prisoner of war

Ninety years ago, almost to the day, South Africa’s pre-eminent geologist, Dr Hans Merensky, made one of the most important and phenomenal mineral discoveries anywhere in the world when he identified a section of the platinum-group-metal-rich...
12th September 2014

South Africa’s WWI golden bullets

The centennial commemoration of the outbreak of the First World War on August, 4, the date that Great Britain officially declared war on a belligerent Germany, was a significant occasion that was largely sidelined and, dare I say, somewhat ignored...
5th September 2014
Digging Deep - Jade Davenport

AngloGold and Africa’s goldsmithing heritage

Many kudos must be given to Johannesburg-based gold miner AngloGold Ashanti for its concerted efforts to preserve and promote the cultural and artistic heritage of African goldsmithing design and techniques. This is particularly noteworthy, given...
1st August 2014
Digging Deep - Jade Davenport

Rhodes memorial debate

From time to time, a debate flares up among the University of Cape Town’s student body about whether or not the statue of pioneering mining magnate and British imperialist Cecil John Rhodes should be removed from the university’s Groote Schuur...
25th July 2014

A modern wine tradition built on diamond wealth

The theme of the last instalment of this column explored the historical association between mining capital and three of South Africa’s most prestigious wine estates. Continuing on that theme, it is interesting to note that a further two of the...
4th July 2014

Mining capital that infiltrated the Cape wine industry

It is inevitable that in an economy that has been so completely dominated by the extraction of mineral resources that mining capital would have, at some stage or another, infiltrated other sectors. Perhaps one of the most interesting sectors where...
6th June 2014
Digging Deep - Jade Davenport

Wine estate celebrates Cape’s tin mining heritage

The vineyard-dominated landscape between Cape Town’s northern suburbs and the wine-producing town of Stellenbosch, particularly along the R102 and M12 routes, is both beautiful and tranquil and it is difficult to imagine that this land was ever...
23rd May 2014
Digging Deep - Jade Davenport

Wining and mining in the early Cape Colony

One thing you would not associate with mining is the craft of winemaking. However, in a country that has been so completely dominated by that extractive industry, it is not entirely surprising that even certain South African wine-producing regions...
2nd May 2014
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