The Williamson Diamond Mine (also known as the Mwadui mine) is a diamond mine south of Mwanza in Tanzania. This mine became well known as the first significant diamond mine outside of South Africa. The mine was established in 1940 by Dr John Williamson a Canadian geologist. It has been in continuous operation since then, making it one of the oldest uninterrupted operating diamond mines in the world. Over its lifetime it has produced over 19 million carats (3,800 kg) of diamonds. The Williamson mine, once owned by its namesake Dr. Williamson and later nationalized by the Tanzanian government, is now majority owned by Petra Diamonds (75% ownership), with the government of Tanzania owning the remaining 25%.
Everytime I get to this statue, I stop and look up at this great man and marvel at visionary expression on his face. Now more than 70 years later, the mine he originally established, provides a livelihood for more than a thousand Tanzanians and two-score expats. The town which Dr Williamson named Mwadui after a local chief at the time, has remained almost identical to when it was established.
Dr John Williamson, founder of Williamson Diamond Mines, Mwadui in 1940
Dr Williamson's statue in the town square just opposite our home
Note the baobab tree behind the statue. There are two legends attached to this tree: One is that in the early days, Dr Williamson pitched his tent under this tree and actually lived there for many years. The other is that he found the very first diamond under this tree. A friend now living in the UK, who was born in Mwadui, told me his parents and friends used to meet under the large baobab tree for sundowners!
Our house is to the right of the house in the photo
The statue was erected by Dr Williamson's brother, PB Williamson
I know that facts are important, and as a journalist I always ensure I have the correct facts about
an article anything a blog post, which I 'm writing. However, when I walk back home, I always turn around and look at Dr Willamson's statue with a romantic eye! The founder of Mwadui, presiding over the town, is gazing out towards the mine with that visionary stare!
Dr Williamson presides over Mwadui town square, looking towards the mine which is just visible through the line of trees
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