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What you write here the kind of the one that you get when you have a hundred thousand dollars worth of diamonds running through your fingers. I think the National Association of educational broadcasters presents America's African heritage recorded in Africa by Skip Westfall program 23 smelting gold and cutting diamonds. Here is Skip Westfall. Our last two programs have been devoted to the story of our trip through the vote lines of Johannesburg. There is one phase of that story however which we haven't had the time to report. The gold refining plant in Germiston when the gold bars leave the reduction plants of the 54 mines located in this area of South Africa they contain 88 percent gold eight percent silver and the
remaining 4 percent consist of particles of copper lead and zinc. These gold buyers are now shipped to a central refining plant at Germiston located about 10 miles from Johannesburg. Here they are melted down to remove those particles of copper silver and the impurities which still remain as it is poured into a metal pot in the furnace as the drops of liquid gold trickle down through a mixture of silica sand and bricks glass referred to a slag the slag picks up the copper silver and iron while a gold settles to the bottom. In this process of the Go-Go bars are heated for two hours over a slow burning fire. Then for another two and a half hours over a coal fire in the final process the pot contains a liquid gold which is covered by a scum of slag. This gum is skimmed off the top and then the gold is poured from the pot into molds and is now ready for shipment. In this final stage the bar is ninety nine and fifty for 100
percent pure gold. There was one phase in this refining operation which I thought was particularly interesting until quite recently. Particles of gold floated into the air during the heating process escaped up the chimneys and were lost through the smoke. Now a method has been devised to catch those gold particles. I want to attempt to give a technical explanation of this process except to say that it consists of a system of magnets which pick up the gold from the smoke in order to make sure that very little of this precious metal is lost. Even the boots in the clothing of the workers is burnt. On our tour of the refinery I was very much impressed by the cooperation of the manager of the plant. A Scotsman by the name of Mr Thompson Mr Barclay of the Chamber of Mines had previously contacted Mr Thomson and the guards at the gates were notified when we were due to arrive. We had to pass through two outer gates which were unlocked by the guards to let us through before we reached Mr. Thompson's office. After we had been received in his office Mr Thompson took almost an
hour to give us a briefing on the technique of the gold refining process and then he gave us a personally conducted tour of the plant which took another hour. The caution which is employed to protect the gold is indicated by the fact that our host carried a bunch of keys with which he unlocked the doors. As we passed from one room to another as we walked through the arj separating Mr. Thompson's office from the refining plant we stopped to watch several workers unloading twenty seven gold buyers from a large truck. They were stacking them onto a small hand drug for transportation to the refining plant. Each buy was worth over twenty six thousand dollars and the total value of that cart load of gold was over seven hundred thousand dollars. A few moments later we met another worker pulling a hand truck loaded with refined bars worth almost a half million dollars. You can imagine how my eyes Beau's death the sight of that much go at one point we met a man with a cart load of silver
bars. They were about the same size as the gold bars but were not of course nearly so valuable. About a thousand dollars apiece. Well there bravely is the story of our tour of the gold refining plant. A most fascinating experience. I didn't attempt to make any recordings of sounds in the refining plant but a couple of days later I did get a rather interesting recording at the Rand exposition in Johannesburg. We'll play that recording in a moment to conclude our gold refining story. One of the most interesting displays at this exposition was a column 200 gold bars stacked one upon the other which represented the output of only a day and a half at the Germiston refinery. Those two hundred gold bars were worth two million eight hundred and thirty thousand dollars. This column of gold was about twelve feet high and was set up in the center of a fountain completely surrounded by a pool of water. The column was protected by electric beams which would set off a series of Gong if someone should try to reach through them to touch
the gold. If anyone had been foolish enough to step into that pool to lay his hands on one of those gold bars he would have been electrocuted so that fortune in gold was very well protected. The recording which I referred to a moment ago was made in another part of the building which housed this display. It was a recording of the sizzling sound of a red hot gold bar. As it is dropped into a tank of cold water to cool it off it's a beautiful sight to see that a red hot pot containing the liquid gold as it's removed from the furnace and emptied into the mold after the gold has cooled a bit so that it can be removed from the mold. A worker picks up the bar with the tongs carries it over to a metal tank filled with water and drops it in. Now let's listen to the recording of the crank of the furnace door as the pot is removed for the pouring.
And now the sizzling sound of the water as the red hot gold bar is dropped into the tank. This concludes the story of our visit to the fabulous goldmines of the Transvaal. In the few minutes remaining on this program we would like to refer rather briefly to another kind of wealth with which the fates of blessed this Life Gem Diamonds. We feel it it's not necessary to go into a lengthy description of the mining and the processing of the diamonds but the method is in many ways similar to that employed at the industrial diamond mines at back in the Belgian Congo which we described in a previous program. The main difference in the methods employed here and that one that is that most of the diamond mining in this area is done underground. There
is very little open pit mining. The work at the premier mine near paternity of which we had the opportunity to visit was at first confined to open pit mining. But now the digging is done entirely on the ground. This is a huge hole at Pretoria it is one thousand three hundred fifty feet deep and covers an area of seventy six acres. I suppose you could refer to it as 76 acres of diamonds. Although it has been worked for over 50 years rare diamonds of great value are still being discovered here just four years ago a beautiful diamond about the size of a penny matchbox was on her wrist at the Praetorian mine. It was worth almost three quarters of a million dollars. The percentage of Gem Diamonds at the Pretoria mine is much higher than at back when that's where 99 percent of the stones are used for industrial purposes. At the premium line 80 percent are industrial diamonds 20 percent are gyms. The method of extracting the precious stones from the ore is similar to that of back one in the
final stage of the ore is run over a series of vibrating grease tables. The particles of sand and gravel pass over the grease but the diamonds cling to it and in that way are removed. For some reason I am unable to explain. There is much more secrecy attached to a visit to the sorting room at the back one that it's very difficult to get permission to visit the back when the plant in fact the wife of one of the men employed there told me that she had never seen the sorting room and probably would never have the opportunity and picture taking There is strictly forbidden. But anyone may make a tour of the plant at the premier mine. There is a sign over the entrance to the sorting room which reads visitors are requested not to touch the grease tables under any circumstances. But you are permitted to take as many pictures as you wish. One can understand the reason for this warning. Our guide told us that recently on a tour of the sorting room he noticed a lady pointing at the diamonds with a small pocket comb. Several times he came so close that she touched the grease
table with the comb and she turned to leave the diet I asked her and asked to see her comb and he found several diamonds clinging to the grease on the tip of the comb. Evidently the lady thought that she'd be able to save her boyfriend the expense of buying a diamond engagement ring. Well later I had the opportunity to visit one of the diamond cutting plans in Johannesburg where the rough diamonds are cut sawed and polished the first step in this process is to cut the rough diamond in two with a small circular plate. The blade revolves at great speed and is kept sharp by applying a mixture of diamond powder and olive oil. The average length of time to cut through a diamond is eight hours. Some of them however require five or six days of constant sawing to get through them. After the diamond has been sawed into it goes to the cutter who begins the job of grinding the surfaces are facets on the stone. This is a very precise operation. The surface is on the top part of the stone are cut at an angle of 34
degrees and those on the bottom part of the stone are cut at 41 degrees. The third and final stage of the polishing of the dime in which the cutting of the facets is completed in the stone is polished. When the diamond is ready to be mounted it contains fifty eight tiny surfaces or facets. It is the reflection of the light on these fifty eight facets which helps to give the stone the sparkle which makes it so beautiful. One half of the stone is lost through this process of cutting sawing and polishing. The two carat diamond is cut down to about one carrot by the time it's ready for market. As you travel through this section of South Africa and get a glimpse of the tremendous treasures and golden names which are being dug out of the earth you are overwhelmed at the realization of the way in which fortune has smiled on this part of the world. In 1866 diamonds were discovered near Kimberley just 20 years later less than three hundred miles northeast of Kimberley gold was discovered at Johannesburg. Then as if the
billions of dollars in gold and nine wins were not enough. Now they have discovered that the aura which contains the precious gold also contains uranium. It was on October eight thousand nine hundred fifty two that the first uranium uranium extraction plant was open at the West Rand Consolidated Mines at Krugersdorp. Now uranium ranks along with gold as one of the most important sources of income for South Africa. In fact this country is now one of the big three uranium producers in the world along with Canada and the United States. And yet with all this well South Africa is an unhappy life the forward looking leaders of the country deplore the fact that so many of the African ors hate the British and so many of the British scorn the Afrikaner ism that most of the Europeans live in fear of the natives. It almost seems as if the fabulous wealth of golden diamonds has brought with it a curse the curse of hatred and fear and suspicion. The fact of the matter is that the white man and the
African need each other without cheap native labor. The Mayans would all be forced to close down and without the scale of the European the mines could not operate. It is understanding that is needed a real understanding of the problems of both the European and the African. The Bible says there are some things which are more to be desired than gold or even much fine gold. How much better is it to get wisdom than gold and to get understanding is rather to be chosen than sober. It is devoutly to be hoped that one day the realization of that great truth will help South Africa to emerge as the happy and contented nation God intended her to be. This has been programmed 23 of America's African heritage. These programs feature recordings made by world traveler skip Westfall on a recent trip to Africa. This air is made possible by a grant in aid to radio station WOIO Iowa State
College from the educational television and radio center production is under the direction of Norman B clere. This is Reg easy speaking for the National Association of educational broadcasters. This is the Radio Network. I love when ladies are made more alluring. My perfume is made with the fall knowing the scent of the civet cat. The National Association of educational broadcasters presents America's African heritage recorded in Africa by Skip Westfall program 24 snakes and perfume. And here is get Westfall. Prior to my departure from the States for this trip to Africa I had the opportunity to make a study of some of the products from the continent of Africa which contribute to the happiness of the 20th century American. One of these products is perfume
for the beginning of this story. Let's go back to her. A recording I made several weeks ago. I thought I was so Company in Burlington Iowa. Here is the recording has been most kind of you Dick to take the time out of your busy day to do this recording to get into our star 8. What would you tell us about some of the ingredients which go into the toilet soaps you manufacture in this plant. The basic ingredients of soap are tallow coconut oil caustic soda perfumes colored dyes and many other minor additives. Now you know I'm about to set sail for the continent of Africa. I'm planning to do some research regarding the projects which come from that part of the world. Products which we use here in America. Is there anything which you use in your soaps which comes from Africa. Yes get many ingredients for perfumes used in find toilet soaps originate in Africa. And from what sources are these perfumes obtains
perfume oils come from flowering plants and even their leaves. Also from animal sources geranium oil is a good example of a plant derived perfume oil from eastern Africa and civet. An example of an animal type perfume. Did you say save it. Yes get seven. A close relative to our familiar but love skunk. Do you mean to say that the foul smelling civet cat helps to make our perfume toilet so. That's right the civet is used as a fixity of our diffuser of the basic and more pleasant portions of perfume. It heightens and prolongs these basic odors where does this civet fixative I believe you call it or does this separate fixative come from do you get some of it from our own American civet cats. No the origin of civet is Ethiopia East Africa where the civet cat is raised and confined for the purpose of civet extraction. Domestic production of
Siva has never been undertaken in our country. Well it certainly does seem as if there is a place in this world for everything God made even that at least in most despised of animals are of use to us. Do you think that the offensive or hear of the civet cat makes our delicate perfumes smell even sweeter. By the way would you be interested in visiting our milling room. I certainly would. Do you have the time right now Dick. I will just take the time skip come this way. Now here is the major Malcolm X rather technical name I would you describe then it is nothing more than a very efficient mixing apparatus capable capable of handling 500 pounds of total soap based on a single charge is fabricated from stainless steel to avoid any possible contamination of the so high a hundred pounds.
That's a lot of soap isn't it. Well is this the perfume in these jars. They look like fruit chairs. Yes Skip it has been carefully weighed and is now ready to be added to the backs of soap which as you see is in the form of small salt chips. Well thank you very much Dick for this enlightening information. I think it is of especial interest to know all that the continent of Africa contributes so much in the manufacture of the soaps which plays such an important part in the American way of life. Following this interview Mr. speakes made mention of the fact that the soap industry must comb the whole earth and the Seven Seas in order to get the materials needed in soapmaking. He made the interesting statement that a part of the bar of soap you use in your bathroom next year may at this moment be a coconut hanging from a palm tree in the Philippine Islands. A part of it may be a sheep roaming the hills of Idaho. For every year by the thousands contribute hundreds of millions of pounds of
fat to the soup kettle and a part of that bar of soap may at this moment be a civet cat on a farm in Ethiopia. Mr. speakes reference to the importance of perfumes in toilet soap stuck in my mind. When I arrived in New York on my way to Africa I found that the saving date for my ship had been set back 24 hours. So I decided I would use the time to visit the Fritchey company suppliers of the essential oils which are used in perfumes and cosmetics. The tour of the fruity plant was particularly interesting to me because it helped me to realize the important places the continent of Africa plays in the making of our modern perfumes. At one point in our tour through the plant my guide took from a shelf in the store a bottle of perfume mixture of which only a small portion is used in the most expensive perfumes. It's made from the jasmine flower which grows in Egypt in Algeria and is called absolute Jasmine. This perfume is worth three thousand dollars
a pound. That small three pound bottle of Absolut Jasmine was valued at $9000. That bottle of perfume was worth six times its weight in gold. On another shelf in the store room of the fridge the plant was a buffalo horn. The end of which was covered with a goat skin. This buffalo horn contained a substance which had the appearance of a dark colored mud. It contained the excretion of the gland of the civet cat. My guide removed the goatskin and gave me a whiff of the stuff and the smell almost made my head reel. He explained that Ethiopia is the only place in the world where so the cats are raised commercially for the perfume industry. When I looked at those buffalo farms it occurred to me that one of them might make an interesting souvenir from my collection of African relics. However my enthusiasm was cooled a bit when I heard the story of what happened to one of the workers at the plant who once had a similar idea. He decided that a pair of those buffalo horns would make a beautiful
decoration on most of the metal of his fireplace. To get rid of the scent he buried the horns. Two years later when he dug them up they found that the scent still remain. So he put them back in the ground. When the horn still smelled of civet after another two years he decided to give up the idea. Another very valuable ingredient used in compound in perfumes is Amber grass a rare substance which is disgorge by sick whales. The most valuable chunk of ambergris ever discovered it was found in New Bedford or near New Bedford about 50 years ago. The man who found it was a sea captain by the name of James Earl. That piece of ambergris weighed eight hundred pounds and was worth one hundred and fifty thousand dollars. It should be emphasized of course that ambergris is only one ingredient which is used in the making of some of our expensive perfumes. The flower of the Lang Lang tree which grows on Reunion Island off the northwest coast of Madagascar
provides an important substance which is used in perfume. We could devote an entire program to that story. Now let's consider another phase of Africa's contribution to American life. This has nothing to do with perfume but it relates to the subject of the great good which can come from the despised thing in the world are now playing a recording that I have just made in the Durban snake park in Durban South Africa. I have the privilege of talking today to a man who is one of the leading authorities on snakes Mr Deasy fish Simons. How many snakes do you have on exhibition here at the Durban snake park most of examines at the moment MSP back to size and space and the average is between six and seven saucer. That's a lot of snakes isn't it to see what you consider to be the most poisonous of all the Africans taking in consideration there's a poison in the nature of the
snake can be not adapted to black nominees and most poisonous more spatially in the day venom is a new poison and is absorbed video rapidly. A bite in the face patient might die was in teens doesn't give you much done nagging at me. Have you ever had the misfortune to be bitten by one of these snakes or quite a number of times. Possibly the list too is when collecting venom from ours as well as 15 and 1. We have inflicted a biped directing to the very end and at the time I was alone and I was found about half an hour later unconscious. Actually I lost consciousness for about a minute and a half a minute. And about six hours later I woke up in one of the local hospitals in London. The feeling is if I had about a two ton weight on my chest is that right and how long did it take you to recover.
Only to those three days they kept me in hospital in that these near collisions dont leave cods of 250 alive and an experience not as serious as yours however about six years ago I passed through Durban on my way to Cape Town just the day after I had been bitten by a poisonous snake at the Swiss Louis game reserve. I talked with you on the phone at the time describing my reaction to that experience. Do you remember it. Oh yes I can remember quite clearly if I. Remember I told you I was taught from the symptoms you mention of must have been a puppet of letters quite poisonous and definitely slow acting venom but diabolical in its reactions and knew of its very wide distribution. I would place it as possibly the most dangerous add in Africa it is undoubtedly responsible for the majority of serious Vives through discipline. Well I can say that patter gave me a pretty miserable time. I was blamed for several months before I finally recovered but to get into the story of your work
here what was your main purpose in setting up the Durban snake park. Do establish a sent down with the general public in those that are coming to this country to settle good cam and see a really representative collection of the snakes which they are likely to encounter in this country. Disparate non-league join all aspects of snake bite and snake life and also do have as sent down we anybody who act a continent can apply for snake bites and use and ceremony as well as send to back over 2000 doses a month and it will have practical use we are to if you can understand it. Snake is quite valuable in killing roads it has considerable economic value. Every country is faced with the destruction done by rats and mice and other small rodents and possibly in this country the damage is
equivalent in Sterling to our national budget. And in those snakes you have a natural enemy to these small creatures and apart from the economic value in destroying other creatures which do harm to our crops and foodstuffs their venoms are being harnessed towards curative medicine. I suppose most people look upon the snake with a sort of a feeling of loathing. Consider that it's only worthwhile purposes to help provide certain to protect other people from the bites of poisonous snakes. But you mention the value of the snake serum in treating disease what are some of the diseases which are treated the snake. Already it is being used most effectively in specially terrible venom in reducing pain associated with cancer and malignant GROSS Well in addition to the use of the
snake venom to relieve the pain of cancer what other diseases are treated with is being used very effective leave Paul combating haemorrhages as which possibly is a God soon to reduce people with hemophilia. And also the news was a partial success in treating epilepsy and it was more pronounced results in some Vitus dance and other nervous disorders and I know enough to put Simon that you've made a considerable study of the use of snake poison for medicinal purposes. You feel that the time is coming when this type of serum will be more widely used to combat disease. Definitely active management. Very difficult to analyze snake venom in their actual venom as animal proteins for the dying mice come very shortly when they will be able to separate active all the different
poisons and harness and do Warriors treating diseases which attack just selective parts of the body. Do you feel then that eventually the serum from the snake poison may be used effectively in the treating mental disease. It has a big future to mine. Well thank you Mr. Fitzsimmons for sharing with us some of your ideas from your wide experience with the wildlife of Africa. I think you've given us just another example of the fact that everything God created seems to have some use in the world and it's certainly interesting to know that even the despised snake can be used to help relieve the suffering of mankind. This has been programmed 24 of America's African heritage recorded by Skip West 12 the series is made possible by a grant in aid from the Educational Television and Radio Center and the National Association of educational broadcasters. This is the end EBD Radio Network.
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Series
America's African heritage
Episode Number
23 And 24
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University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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cpb-aacip/500-q52fcw2t
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Topics
History
Race and Ethnicity
Media type
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Duration
00:29:16
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University of Maryland
Identifier: 4904 (University of Maryland)
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Citations
Chicago: “America's African heritage; 23 And 24,” University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed June 23, 2024, http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-500-q52fcw2t.
MLA: “America's African heritage; 23 And 24.” University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. June 23, 2024. <http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-500-q52fcw2t>.
APA: America's African heritage; 23 And 24. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-500-q52fcw2t