Kimberley Diamond Mines #southafrica

Jill Whitehead

My great uncle Abraham Simon Guttenberg (later Graham) born Hull, 1872, and later lived in Grimsby and then Sheffield,  went out to South Africa aged 16 after a row with his father. He ran a dry goods provisions service supplying mining companies, other companies and families. He got to know Barney Barnato (diamonds entrepreneur and relation of TV's Esther Rantzen), Mahatma Gandhi and (not something to mention these days) Cecil Rhodes. He later brought his Liverpool born wife out to Joberg (Minnie Gorfunkel) and his first two children were born there. They returned to Sheffield  in 1914 at outbreak of war, but he visited in the 1920s. Apparently when he was a young man, he had his savings stolen when travelling on a train across South Africa. All this is recounted in Abe's memoirs which he deposited in Sheffield City Libraries and Archives. The outline contents of his memoirs can be searched online at Sheffield Archives. Part of his memoirs (relating to his return to Sheffield and his interest in poetry) were made into a radio programme by the BBC a couple of years ago. The memoirs need to be read with a nod to the mores of over 100 years ago.

Jill Whitehead, Surrey, UK


In 1900 my grandfather, Albert Isaacs,  travelled from  Manchester, UK,  to Kimberley to make his fortune in the diamond mines.  Unfortunately that didn't happen. He stayed with his Aunt and Uncle, as his Uncle was a manager of one of the mines.    A family diary describes his 2 month stay in Africa.  Bad health meant that he had to search for another job, and at some stage he went to Aliway North to work for Mr. Levy, a Jewish shop owner,  before  returning to Manchester more or less penniless.   I have more details from the diary if anyone is interested.  
Kathryn Berman

Esta Kawaoka

My mother told me that my grandfather, and at least one other brother, worked in the Kimberley Diamond Mines in South Africa.  Are there any records of mine workers? This would have been in the later part of the 1890’s.
They migrated from Schwekshne Kovno, Lithuania.
Esta Kawaoka