South Africa is having its latest gold rush. People are arriving in droves at a site at KwaMachi in Harding, in the far south of KwaZulu-Natal, in the hope of striking gold.

Local traditional leader, Mthetho Machi says few days ago, news spread like wildfire that gold had been discovered in this deep rural village. Machi says they’ve roped in security agencies to secure the place – while geologists conduct sand and stone tests.

The normally empty site is buzzing with gold diggers, vendors and families who spend days and nights at KwaMachi in Harding trying to find what could possibly turn their fortunes overnight.

The deep sleepy rural village, under the Umuziwabantu Local Municipality, is drawing fortune seekers by the hundreds. Locals say it all started by the road construction in the area.

As the road expansion continued some of the workers noticed a goldish stone and the digging has not stopped since then. More than 200 people turned miners are digging in the hope of striking it rich.

Community members believe the gold discovery will help speed the development in the rural village.

“I arrived at 11 at the site – right now I’m having a handful of gold. I believe we will never go to look for work anymore – this gold discovery is a blessing in what used to be the poor community,” says a community member.

“We can now sell the gold and generate our own income,” says another community member.

“God has really blessed this community; probably he heard our desperation and prayers,” adds a community member.

“This is now eternal bread in the sense. Those are a will that will last for the generations to come,” adds another community member.

Sphiwe Bhani, who is living a stone’s throw away from the site, says they have started selling the stone to the tourists. He says the business is booming as people are flocking into the rural village. Bhani has suggested that the security measures be tightened around the area.

“We already started selling the precious stone. People are coming in numbers to buy from this, we are selling the gold at a cheapest prices ranging from a hundred rand upwards. People are still arriving – now our lives are slowly changing for the better since the discovery of the gold mine. We can even provide for our families but we wish that this mine should be protected since there are so many people.”

Traditional leader, Mthetho Machi says they have roped in security agencies to secure the place while geologists conduct sand and stone tests.

“This is KwaMachi area in Harding. So few days ago the road construction was underway – trying to expand the village road. So some of the workers have noticed a colourful and goldish stone. From then on people have flocked into this molehill – more than 200 people are already digging as we speak.

“However, we fear that this might escalate to a stampede. What we have done we have notified the Ingonyama Trust Board which advised us to secure the area and deploy security agencies. We will then take the samples for tests to ensure whether this is gold or not.”

The discovery of what is believed to be the precious stone is expected to reshape the lives of the ordinary village people with renewed hope. Locals, who reside at the uMuziwabantu  are expected to be relocated if the area proves to bear the gold.