A DITCHED ghost town in the middle of the Namibian desert was once full of diamonds but is now full of run down homes, buried knee-deep in the sand. A barren Kolmanskop once had hundreds of German miners searching for precious stones that would make them rich.
The bustling village was producing a million carats of diamonds a year- totalling 11.7 per cent of the world’s total diamond production. But when they ran out in 1956, the village was completely abandoned and in the coming years sand dunes had smashed through the houses, flinging open doors and filling up the empty buildings with heaps of smooth sand.
Kolmanskop was founded in the early 1900s when diamonds were discovered just sitting on the sand. Railway worker Zacharias Lewala found one of the shiny gems in 1908 as he shovelled sand from the tracks.
He showed it to his German boss August Stauch, who got the stone tested and had it confirmed as an expensive diamond. The news sparked a rush of prospectors into Namibia and within a few years the Germans had made themselves at home.
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