The naming competition was conducted under the auspices of the global audit firm Ernst & Young, who were responsible for organizing a transparent and independent process. More than 11,000 entries were received from across the whole of Botswana. The contest asked people to give a name for the diamond and also give a reason as to why they had chosen that particular name. People were all extremely excited as Lesedi La Rona had put them on the world map – the largest diamond ever found in Botswana!
Five executives from the Lucara and Karowe diamond mines were part of the judging panel which selected the winning name. The names of the contest entrants were kept a secret till the diamond name had been chosen, and only then was the name of the winner declared. On February 9, Lucara Diamond Corp. issued an official statement declaring the name of the winner and his prize-winning entry which was eventually chosen for the diamond. Thembani Moitlhobogi, who came up with the name “Lesedi La Rona” was chosen the winner and awarded a cash prize of $2,196 (BWP 25,000).
Lucara Diamond Corp. chief executive officer and president, William Lamb, spoke about the discovery of the Lesedi La Rona diamond and mentioned that it symbolized the pride and history of the people of Botswana. It was possibly this reason that prompted the diamond mine to organize a contest and give the most deserving winner a big cash prize.
In Botswana, the diamond industry is the livelihood for a whole lot of people, with many of the local residents working in the mines. Some of the younger generation has also taken up diamond polishing and cutting, and jewelry designing as careers which forms the major share of their occupation and source of revenue. Today, the diamond industry has played a key role in developing the country of Botswana by ensuring that there is a considerable amount of investment in enhancing the economy of the country, as well as boosting healthcare, infrastructure, and education.
Lesedi La Rona, the second-largest diamond in the world, has lived up to its name – meaning ‘our light’ – and has brought a sparkle to the lives of the Botswanan people by putting them under the limelight across the globe. Not to mention Thembani, who is the hero of the hour for all the Botswanan locals!