Ilakaka, Madagascar

What used to be an anonymous hamlet with no history has become a mushroom town built of ragtag since the discovery in 1998 of one of the largest sapphire deposits in the world. Do not ask too much planning concern to the 100.000 inhabitants who know that they are here only for a time, that of becoming rich, or dreaming of it. Others will continue to come, Malagasy, African, Sri Lankan, Thai, all obsessed with "the" stone in tones ranging from blue-violet to pink or yellow, to unearth "Inch Allah" at the bottom of a gaping hole. The smartest just climb from hospitable "services" annexes here as in Sakaraha to 3 km: grocery stores, bars, nightclubs ... To each his vein and good fortune for all!

Text: Thompson Andriamanoro
Photos Pierre-Yves Babelon

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