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 Jasper House



The following amusing tale was told to me over the telephone from Jim Murray, who worked on the Northern Areas of the mine in the mid 60's.


"During the mid 60’s, the company had a mobile exploration unit that would wander the vast and remote wilderness of the mine. It consisted of a group of roughneck guys, numbering about 20 or so souls.

These chaps operated a rig known as an Aqua Rig and would drill for core samples all over the Sperrgebiedt. They would often be away from Oranjemund for a few weeks at a time living in a convoy of dusty old caravans.
One could almost imagine this convoy of trucks, caravans and water tankers, blazing a path through the desert, their drill rig in tow.

Now one must  remember that back in those days, there were not any lady folk or even other human beings wandering around the area.

So it was on one of those typical, hot, dry Namib desert afternoon, when the General Manager of the day, Mr.Devlin decided to pay an unannounced visit to his drill rig.
What a shock he got, when he turned up on the site after driving a good few hours through the desert to find his workforce all stripped down to just a pair of shorts. Some were even just wearing their underpants. One could understand their logic, after all there were no lady folk around to be offended. Anyhow it was bloody hot and dusty working out in the arid desert.

Being the General Manager he was, he flew into a ranting rage and called the foreman over, he demanded to know why his employees were dressed in such a  naked  manner. The foreman tried in vain to explain the working conditions, the heat…..the dust…… But Mr.Devlin was having none of this. This was the almighty DeBeers group, they had standards…. “I will be returning in a month and I expect to find these men properly attired”, he instructed the foreman. With that he climbed back into the white land rover and headed back in the general direction of Oranjemund.

It was about a month later when Mr.Devlin had decided that he would be heading out to the Aqua Rig to inspect his troops. But unbeknown to him, somehow somebody managed to tip of the Aqua rig’s foreman. A plan was put into action.

Sometime around midday, Mr. Devlin’s land rover pulled up at the site. He climbed out of the vehicle and his eyes widened at the surreal scene playing out before him. Every single one of those workers was dressed in a full suit, bowtie and all……

They were the best dressed rig team in the world……"