Vol.23 No.185

Friday 8 December 2006    
   Cartoon Strip  
   Business Week  
   Arts/Culture Review  
Oprah Winfrey, 'Blood Diamond' movie cast endorse Kimberley Process

12/8/2006 4:41:31 PM (GMT +2)

The Oprah Winfrey Show today featured a segment promoting the soon-to-be- released Hollywood action film Blood Diamond. The movie's stars, Leonardo DiCaprio and Djimon Hounsou appeared as guests, along with the director, David Zwick.

During the segment, Oprah endorsed the movie but further observed that today "sources say conflict diamonds slowed to 1 percent of diamonds in the marketplace" and that "it is important to know that the sale of conflict-free diamonds is actually saving many African countries."

The programme went on to feature Botswana and Namibia as examples of how the diamond industry in Africa has financed economic and social development. For his part, Zwick, the movie's director, said the film was not intended to sway consumers away from buying diamonds. His comments followed Leonardo DiCaprio's recent statement in favour of certified diamonds.

Below is an article about the show from the Rapaport News, which specialises in critical coverage of the global diamond industry. Oprah on 'Blood Diamond' RAPAPORT... Top rated daytime television programme, the Oprah Winfrey Show, on the ABC Network, devoted a segment to the Blood Diamond movie. Winfrey treated her viewing audience to interviews with the movie's star Leonardo DiCaprio, co-star Djimon Hounsou, and producer Ed Zwick on December 4.

DiCaprio walked on stage to screaming and applauding female fans. Winfrey called his performance and the movie "great," and added "Blood Diamond is jarringly violent" with a "gut wrenching story line", referring to a main premise of following Hounsou's character on a search for his family in war-torn Sierra Leone.

The film is fictional and not taken from a single source, Zwick said, but the general story of the war needed to be told. "When you think of South Africa, the important thing that comes about is to tell the truth to prevent what happened from happening again." DiCaprio said of Zwick's direction that the film was a testament to how Hollywood can successfully switch from the conventional movie- making process into creating a politically charged message.

"It is very symbolic what we as consumers do," DiCaprio said. "We live our lives, buy products and don't think about where it comes from." Winfrey featured a segment during the show on how the diamond industry has rallied its players to adopt the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme.

"Sources say conflict diamond slowed to 1 percent of diamonds in the marketplace," Winfrey said. "It is important to know that the sale of conflict free diamonds is actually saving many African countries." She told the success story of Botswana and Namibia, showing images and data from those diamond economies, countries that were enabled to build schools, and roads, fund education and health care for thousands of residents on diamond revenue.

"Diamond revenue in Sierra Leone is helping to start the economy. Health care and food is available to mining employees and their families," she told the audience.

Zwick said the movie was not intended to sway consumers away from buying diamonds when Winfrey asked, "not at all. You talked about it first with Leonardo, but when you are a consumer - understand what the choice is and make a choice that is informed."

To consumers who visit jewellers, Zwick said, "You can sit there (or) you can say 'I want to see a warranty' and a certificate to make a difference and effect thousands of lives." Send us your comments about Mmegi newspaper Search For Old Newspaper Editions To advertise contact us through email

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