Flight of the Diamond Smugglers: A Tale of Pigeons, Obsession, and Greed Along Coastal South Africa
In 2016, American investigative journalist Matthew Gavin Frank traveled along South Africa's notorious Diamond Coast to report on the illicit trade that supplies a global market. Immediately, he became intrigued by the ingenious methods used in facilitating this trade--particularly, the illegal act of sneaking carrier pigeons onto mine property, affixing diamonds to their feet, and sending them into the air.
From the pits of Alexander Bay and Port Nolloth through the Halfway Desert to Kleinzee's shipwrecked shores, Frank investigates a long-overlooked true-crime story dating back to the founding of the De Beers Corporation. Weaving interviews with local diamond miners (whose average lifespan is 37) who raise pigeons in secret with harrowing anecdotes from former heads of security, environmental managers, and vigilante pigeon hunters, Frank reveals how these feathered bandits became outlaws in every mining town. Appealing to fans of The Feather Thief, Flight of the Diamond Smugglers becomes a memorable portrait of exploitation and greed in one of the most dangerous areas of coastal Africa.
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