August is trackmaster at Grasplatz , a small station in the middle of the desert. Not much happens here: three years now the new railway line leads to the coast to Lüderitz, and for a year now he has been the director here. Above all, August and his employees have a job: shoveling the sand off the tracks. The damn sand. He is constantly blown back by the persistent wind. A shit job.
"That's what I imagined differently," he thinks every morning when he wakes up and looks at his track section. It sounded adventurous when he got the offer to go to Africa at home in Thuringia. The desert climate would also be good for his asthma. And that's not bad for the CV, they say. And now he's sitting here in the pampa, and the sand and the heat and boredom are wearing down his synapses.
Zacharias, one of his co-workers, knocks. "Mr. Stauch, look what I found on the tracks." He hands August a small sparkling stone.
It is a diamond.
We write April 14, 1908, in German Southwest Africa . The beginning of a big diamond noise.
A few years later, the Kolmannskuppe diamond prospecting camp is the richest city in Africa after income per capita: the several hundred inhabitants have many amenities in the middle of the desert, such as a lemonade and ice cream factory, elementary school, police station and post office, a bowling alley and a Casino, gymnasium, dance hall and theater. And a patient with the first X-ray machine in southern Africa!
August Stauch is a rich man. For a long time now he is no longer a railway master but an entrepreneur. In the general store, the inhabitants pay with carats, not with marks.
Then the First World War breaks out. The Germans surrender. South African companies continue to mine, but the resources are soon exploited. The last inhabitants leave the desolate place that was once so alive.
Hot desert wind sweeps the sand in front of him. Get trapped in the shed, the gutted Wilhelminian mansions, the workers' houses. He crawls down the long corridor of the hospital, into the waiting room. A gust pushes up a blind window. It's over.
The sand has won.
Many thanks to Gondwana Collection for the invitation to Namibia. aus besichtigen. Kolmannskuppe is easy to visit from Lüderitz or from Aus .