Bothwell Hlahla, a well-connected Zimbabwean diamond dealer in the Marange region, had died from injuries sustained in a car crash last Friday evening.
Hlahla, who rose from poverty to become one of Zimbabwe’s most wealthy businessmen, was associated to diamond dealers in Zimbabwe and from abroad, a good number of whom attended his funeral in Mutare. According to the local media, many of them had gathered to discuss alternative options forobtaining Zimbabwe-sourced material, now that Hlahla has exited the scene.
Hlahla reportedly started out washing cars, before trying his luck as an artisanal miner in the Chiadzwa diamond fields. When he struck it rich, it took him about three years to rise to the top of the Zimbabwean diamond trade.
Hlahla was a strong supporter of the ruling Zanu party, financing Zanu youth projects in Mutare and developing close relationships with a number of leading politicians, among them, reportedly, the country’s mining minister, Obert Mpofu.