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Podcast: Desmond Ratsoma & Robin Bhebhe - Adding Value in Kimberley

Updated: Feb 3

The co-founders of OC Gems, a startup manufacturing company based in Kimberley, South Africa, tell the story of their journey into the diamond industry, and discuss entrepreneurship, beneficiation and the crucial role that social media is playing as they step into the next phase of their business's development.

You can find them on Instagram and Tik Tok as OC Gems, and via their website

Listen to the podcast here:

Here's a bit more about Desmond and Robin...

To say Desmond Ratsoma and Robin Sibusiso Bhebhe left me inspired when I interviewed them for the inaugural episode of my podcast – Diamond Gems with Avi Krawitz – would be an understatement.

The cofounders of OCGEMS, a diamond manufacturing company in Kimberley, South Africa, embody everything I admire in entrepreneurs: hard working, level-headed, creative, unassuming, energetic and ambitious – enough said.

I first met them at the JCK Las Vegas show in 2019 when Robin invited me to visit their booth. As an expat South African I was curious, but not quite sure of the bigger picture.

Fast forward to my arrival in Kimberley last month, and I’m blown away by how far they’ve come. Before we sat down for our podcast – and some wicked pastries and coffee – they showed me their prospective cutting and polishing facility, an impressive space they're seeking to fund and equip as the business scales up and they bring their vision to life. I swear I could hear the buzz of those future cutting wheels as Desmond enthused about their plans and noted the challenges they’re facing.

It's been quite a journey to get to this point. The two met at the Kimberley International Diamond and Jewellery Academy (KIDJA), a program by the Northern Cape Provincial Government and De Beers Group for skills development in the industry. Both Desmond and Robin came to the academy with intentional chance.

Desmond hails from a village around the City of Polokwane in Limpopo province. He grew up dreaming of studying accountancy, but didn't have the resources to pursue that path. Determined to build a better life, he did odd jobs, including packing oranges and as a car park attendant, before hearing about KIDJA and the opportunity to learn about diamonds. He excelled at the academy and upon graduating took a position as an instructor, in which capacity he met Robin.

Robin came to Kimberley from Zimbabwe. Not sure what to do after school, he took his father's advice to attend the academy and spend a gap year there until he figured out his next move. But Robin found himself filling a potential that seemed lacking during his school days. The industry bit.

The two decided to go into business, and when the Kimberley Diamond and Jewellery Incubator was established in 2015 to facilitate entrepreneurship in diamond and jewelry manufacturing, OCGems was among its first entrants.

OCGems is now in the second intake of De Beers' enterprise development project for entrepreneurs. And as a Kimberley-based company, the founders are determined to help build a diamond beneficiation sector in the city so famous for mining and rough trading.

I absolutely loved spending time with Desmond and Robin and could not have asked for better first guests on the podcast. I urge you to listen to their stories, and follow their journey - Instagram: @ocgemsrsa. Personally, I can’t wait to see what's next for them. Meet Desmond and Robin everyone.

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