Olga Levinson was born in South Africa. She obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree at the University of the Witwatersrand and after her marriage to Jack Levinson, a businessman from Windhoek, moved in 1943 to Windhoek in what was then Southwest Africa.
Her literary contributions to broadcasting, books and magazines brought her fame beyond Namibian borders. She wrote extensively, including the first English history account of the country, Story of Namibia, and was one of the first admirers and supporters of two of Namibia’s greatest artists, Adolph Jentsch, on whom she wrote a moving and authoritative book, Adolph Jentsch, and John Muafangejo whom she not only supported but wrote many introductions, catalogues and essays.
She was particularly interested in the arts and helped found the National Theatre and the S.A. Association of Arts (SWA) where she served as President for 18 years. A number of public works including the Kudu sculpture on Independence Avenue in Windhoek stands as a testament to her initiative. Olga Levinson played a leading role in the cultural life of the country.
After meeting the late widow of August Stauch, the man who discovered the first diamonds in the desert, she became intrigued by his story. Her research took her to Lüderitz and the surrounding “ghost towns” and “prohibited area” of the desolate Namib desert, but also to Germany where Stauch was born. The book was launched for the centenary celebrations of Lüderitz in 1983.
Olga Levinson died in Cape Town in March 1989.
Diamonds in the Desert
by Olga Levinson
216 p. • numerous b/w photos • 2008 • ISBN 978-99916-40-85-3 • 170 x 240 mm
There is no other commodity with such an irresistible fascination as diamonds. People will risk it all for them. They will betray, cheat, lie, deceive and murder. They will forfeit honour, friendship and loyalty. They will suffer privations and danger. For diamonds make dreams a reality. They bring prestige and power. They open doors to presidents and kings. They magically transfer poor men into millionaires. That is what happened to August Stauch. This is the true story of a lonely railway employee at one of the most desolate and godforsaken outposts on earth, who stumbled across diamonds in the desert which became the richest source of these gems in the world. It is a human and poignant story that has never been fully told.