Diamond Coast

The Diamond Coast is a remote, arid and exposed stretch of land on the western shores of Southern Africa. It is a land of detritus, crafted from a decades long battle between humans and nature. Vast tracts of this land have been stripped and sifted. Everything between the surface and the bedrock meters below has been upended by giant earthmoving machines or by manpower alone. All this in search for diamonds which were deposited here over millions of years by rivers that carve away at the continent’s interior. This is a limited resource however, and declining yields have now forced most mines to close or dramatically downscale. Land rehabilitation efforts have fallen short, and large areas remain bare of vegetation and exposed to erosion. Topsoil is once again being stripped, this time by the wind. Airborne sand now threatens to bury everything in its path.

The small towns that once serviced the mines have dismantled their checkpoints and opened to the public. Many of the original residents have left to find work elsewhere, while others remained to scavenge what was left behind. In turn, newcomers have begun to settle here, taking advantage of low property prices and seeking a new start. They bring with them optimism and ambitious plans, but the harsh elements are unrelenting, and infrastructure is suffering without the financial support of large-scale mining operations.

Driven by curiosity and spanning several years, my visits have inadvertently allowed me to become a witness to the changes taking place. It is unclear what will happen next, maybe this struggling coast will find a new lease of life, or maybe it will slowly collapse now that its profitability has been exhausted. In the meantime, entropy holds sway here on the Diamond Coast.

© Dillon Marsh - Weathered rock, near Koekenaap, 2017

Weathered rock, near Koekenaap, 2017

© Dillon Marsh - Edge of town, Hondeklip Bay, 2017

Edge of town, Hondeklip Bay, 2017

© Dillon Marsh - Land of detritus, Alexander Bay, 2020

Land of detritus, Alexander Bay, 2020

© Dillon Marsh - Meandering track, Oranjemund, 2013

Meandering track, Oranjemund, 2013

© Dillon Marsh - Entry prohibited, Koingnaas, 2017

Entry prohibited, Koingnaas, 2017

© Dillon Marsh - Happenings beyond, Alexander Bay, 2020

Happenings beyond, Alexander Bay, 2020

© Dillon Marsh - Tina’s trick, Kleinzee, 2020

Tina’s trick, Kleinzee, 2020

© Dillon Marsh - Palm prints, Kleinzee, 2020

Palm prints, Kleinzee, 2020

© Dillon Marsh - Cockpit, near Koingnaas, 2020

Cockpit, near Koingnaas, 2020

© Dillon Marsh - Convoy, near Koingnaas, 2020

Convoy, near Koingnaas, 2020

© Dillon Marsh - Screening, near Kleinzee, 2020

Screening, near Kleinzee, 2020

© Dillon Marsh - Scanning, near Kleinzee, 2020

Scanning, near Kleinzee, 2020

© Dillon Marsh - Sweepings, Koingnaas, 2020

Sweepings, Koingnaas, 2020

© Dillon Marsh - Overburden dumps, Kleinzee, 2020

Overburden dumps, Kleinzee, 2020

© Dillon Marsh - Repurposed pool, Kleinzee, 2020

Repurposed pool, Kleinzee, 2020

© Dillon Marsh - Maw, Port Nolloth, 2018

Maw, Port Nolloth, 2018

© Dillon Marsh - Hair salon, Kleinzee, 2020

Hair salon, Kleinzee, 2020

© Dillon Marsh - Sunbathers, Alexander Bay, 2020

Sunbathers, Alexander Bay, 2020

© Dillon Marsh - Displacement, Port Nolloth, 2020

Displacement, Port Nolloth, 2020

© Dillon Marsh - Crux


Sign up to our weekly newsletter

Stay in the loop

We will send you weekly news on contemporary photography. You can change your mind at any time. We will treat your data with respect. For more information please visit our privacy policy. By ticking here, you agree that we may process your information in accordance with them. This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Diamond Coast by Dillon Marsh

Prev Next Close