South Africa Calls For the UK to Return 'Great Star of Africa' Diamond
(Photo by Richard Baker / In Pictures via Getty Images)

Queen Elizabeth II's coffin with sceptre, crown and orb resting on the top during the funeral procession from Westminster Abbey to Wellington Arch at Hyde Park and beyond to St Georges Chapel in Windsor Castle where she is to be interred, on 19th September 2022, in London, England.

The 500 carat diamond is currently mounted on a scepter that belonged to the late Queen Elizabeth II.


On the heels on the death of Queen Elizabeth II, South Africa is asking the royal family to return the largest clear-cut diamond in the world, known as the Great Star of Africa or Cullinan I. According to CNN, the 500-carat diamond was presented to King Edward VII in 1907 Cullinan, a Gauteng province of South Africa.

Following the death of the British monarch, many South Africans are calling on the royal family to return the jewel because it was not acquired legitimately. The death has triggered mixed reactions online, and has also generated a lot of conversations around colonialism and genocide.

The diamond is currently mounted on a scepter that belonged to the late queen. Over 6,000 people have taken to sign a Change petition asking for the Great Star of Africa to be returned to South Africa.

South African activist Thanduxolo Sabelo spoke to the media, stating that the large diamond had to be returned. "The Cullinan Diamond must be returned to South Africa with immediate effect," said Sabelo. "The minerals of our country and other countries continue to benefit Britain at the expense of our people."

Several South Africans have also taken to social media to share their opinion on the issue, and ask for the return of the jewel.

Although people have echoed the idea that the royal family should return the royal gem, there are others who believe that the incident is a distant memory, and all parties should forget about what happened rather than dwell on the past. Others seem to highlight the idea that despite colonialism's painful memory for many, it benefitted underdeveloped countries.

In a statement to CNN, Leigh-Ann Mathys, a South African spokeswoman for the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), said that every forcefully take jewel or item of value that was taken by the royal family should be repatriated to its rightful ownership.

"Our call is for repatriations for all colonial theft, which the theft of the Great Star of Africa is a part of," said Mathys. "We don't call for its return, as this implies that there was a valid agreement in terms of which the British royal family was borrowed the diamond. It is in their possession purely as a result of colonial tenacities that suffocated natives in this country and elsewhere."

South Africa joins the list of many African countries have been fighting to reclaim looted jewels that were taken from their countries. Recently, new broke that Germany would return several Benin artifacts to the Benin kingdom.

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