• Gem of a man

    Gem of a man

    Tanzania has decided to grant TZS100 million to the man who discovered tanzanite more than five decades ago.

    President John Magufuli declared on April 6 that the amount will be given to Jumanne Ngoma as a token of appreciation, according to a report on AllAfrica.com.

    President Magufuli called Ngoma ‘the hero of the nation who has for long been forgotten and neglected’. Ngoma is widely regarded as the first man to ‘identify’ tanzanite during artisanal diggings in 1967. Initially known as zoisite, the gemstone was rebranded tanzanite by jewellers Tiffany & Co, and is found only in Tanzania.

    ‘Mzee Ngoma is a veritable Tanzanian hero. But what did he get after discovering Tanzanite about 50 years ago? Nothing. Nothing at all. In fact, it is people from other countries who have benefited more from this unique gemstone,’ said Magufuli.

    TZS100 million is equivalent to about US$450. Ngoma was officially recognised by the Tanzanian government in 1980 for his efforts but according to Magufuli never received any financial reward.

    10 April 2018
    Image: Gallo/Getty Images