Dumani Mandela

Diamonds: The Most Influential People Of The Decade.

Diamonds Standards Organization honors the commitment of the professionals around the world whose outstanding work in the past decade contributed to create ethical awareness in the diamond and jewellery sectors and helped promote the entire industry.

Dumani Mandela, grandson of late President Nelson Mandela, is Senior Advisor to Geneva Diamond Exchange on the ethical sourcing of diamonds on the African continent. He holds a senior role and he is equity owner at Wictra Holdings, the largest family owned train manufacturing company in South Africa Mr Mandela received the Honorary Membership.

Why is ethical sourcing important in a modern society?

Being a citizen of this diverse continent Africa I have seen and experienced first hand the socio economic and political paradoxes that are created by trading illicit diamonds with the political and social instability is some African states such trade has created for many of our brethren where wars are funded, insurrections mounted and child Labour abused on the back of the illicit diamond trade. Kimberly has presented not only the African continent but the global consumers with an opportunity to cull some of the social ills that are created on the continent as a result of the illicit trade of diamonds.

Why informing customers that their purchase conforms to ethical standards has become a necessity?
Buyers in general I believe should be agnostic to where diamonds are from as long as they comply with Kimberly certification. This is a concept amongst some international buyers which have a misconception that if diamonds come from some African states then the are automatically conflict diamonds where this is not the case. The best dealers on the continent are usually very compliant to the international regulatory regime around trading of diamonds especially South Africa, Angola, Botswana and Namibia to name a few.
However, because of the nature of the resource by nature, sometimes it attracts the wrong people who tarnish national reputations as a result of unethical behavior around trading diamonds. But as a rule of thumb the customer deserves to be informed of the source of the diamonds.

What is your background?
My background is in research, underwriting and investment banking prior to working for my family business for the last ten years. My career started in Sweden with a consulting firm called Nextwork where I advised and worked under the chairman Bo Ekman on African outlooks. I then moved to Skandia Insurance company where I worked in the office of the CEO as a researcher on strategy and planning looking specifically at global aging and how we could change insurance products to suit the EU environment. I returned to Africa after some years in Sweden and I took a post advising the chairman of UBS Africa (United Bank of Switzerland Africa) Mxolisi Mbetse. After some years in investment banking I decided to settle into my family business where we are the largest black owned train manufactures in South Africa. Since 2018 I have also acted in an advisory capacity in the diamond space on ethical trading on the African continent prior to being invited to join Geneva Diamond Exchange as a Senior Advisor.

“Being a citizen of this diverse continent Africa I have seen and experienced first hand the socio-economic and political paradoxes that are created by trading illicit diamonds,,

How would you describe the last ten years?
My experience with the resources space is rather complex on the African continent where advisors have to be rather ambidextrous. It is very difficult for some international buyers to identify honest relationships on the African continent where there are many inconsistencies with what is offered on desktop manifests and what is present on the ground when international buyers come to the continent. In my advisory capacity to Geneva Diamond Exchange I source and broker ethical and honest relationships which brings about a certain consistency with what is being offered and what is found on the ground. At other times I act as a dealer principle on the buyers or seller side in a broker capacity depending on the requirements of the transaction. In some instances I act in a pure advisory capacity which is my favorite aspect of the resources space.

“In the next decade I think people will develop trust in the African continent,,

What can we expect in the next decade?
In the next decade I think people will develop trust in the African continent and be more willing to travel and transact on the continent and more countries as traders meet the global international standards around ethical sourcing of diamonds even in the rural communities where there is no Brinks, where diamonds sites are run by local chiefs and headmen who are unaware of the global statutory requirements around trading.

On a more personal note, what is your favourite shape?
I have collected some various shapes for my wife and they have always been driven by my personal development and her tastes at the time that I purchased them.

What is your favourite diamond color?
I prefer white because by nature I am rather conservative and so is my wife.

What is your favourite gemstone?
Tanzanite, simply because of the color.

What is your favourite jewllery brand and why?
I buy all of my stones from a local jewelere in South Africa called Browns because of their service as they have always sourced me exactly the stone that I wanted.

What is your favourite watch brand and what model most attracts you?
Mont Blanc and Rolex simply because they have a lot of pieces that can be passed down from one generation to the next because of the quality.