Diamond diggers in South Africa’s deserted mines break the law — and risk their lives

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Jefferson Ncube, an illegal diamond miner from Zimbabwe, works on his latest tunnel at an abandoned De Beers mine near Kleinzee, South Africa. Ncube is a univeristy graduate, but has been unable to find employment.

Photos show the desperate search for scraps left by big diamond operators. But amid rampant poverty and unemployment, zama-zamas see no other way to provide for their families.

(Image credit: Tommy Trenchard for NPR)

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