And then you named your farm after the event…. Who does that? There are so many strange names for places all over the world, I decided that South Africa must have it’s fair share and had fun trawling through a road atlas finding some of them. The result is two mug designs that celebrate South African place names.
The first is just the wierd names out there. I realise that these might not mean much to those who have no knowledge of South African languages, so here is a handy translation list for some of the places not obviously English:
Hotazel – Not a different language, just a truncation of “Hot as Hell” which is apt considering this town is in the Kalahari region of the Northern Cape and it’s main attraction is an open-quarry manganese mine; Blikfontein – “Tin Can Fountain/Spring” (go figure); Spoegrivier – “Spit River” (in a very arid part of the country); Geluksburg – “Fortune burg”; Waenhuiskrans – “Wagon House Cliff”; Soekmekaar – “Looking for each other”; Mabvuka Jazz – sounds like a nightclub, is actually a town in Limpopo Province. Mabvuka could be a Shona derivative for “Place of emerging water” in other words, “Spring Jazz”; – if you want to know check the link, it’s complicated; Tweebuffelsmeteenskootmorsdoodgeskietfontein – Probably the longest place name in the South Africa if not the world and it means “Two buffaloes shot dead with one shot Fountain/Springs”; Platbakkies – in Afrikaans plat is flat and a bakkie is either a container or a pickup truck, so take your pick; Baardkeerdersbos – “Beard Herder’s/Defender’s Forest”; Lekkersing – “Sing Nicely”; Pofadder – Afrikaans for one of our deadliest snakes, the “Puffadder”.
Addendum: A friend of mine sent me this info about Baardkeerdersbos (apparently in some cases it is spelled differently): “Baardskeerdersbosch (in the overberg) literally means “Beard Shaver’s Forest”. The accepted explanation for this name is that a species of solifuge inhabits the area, and that this insect is referred to as a “beard shaver” because it cuts hair to use for nest-building”. Cool to know! Thanks Shirley!
The second design is the Breakfast Mug. I decided to create this one because there were all these place names that fit nicely into the breakfast theme. Here are the translations:
Melkrivier – “Milk River”; Koffiefontein – “Coffee Fountain/Spring” (oh yeah, sign me up!); Heuningfontein – “Honey Fountain”; Wakkerstroom – “Awake Stream”; Breakfast Vlei – A vlei is a shallow marshy lake; Koekenaap – “Cake and Monkey”; Lemoenshoek – “Orange Corner”.
I am planning to make a few of these to send to far flung South Africans who may have forgotten what it’s like to drive down a remote road in this country and come across a sign pointing to somewhere called Gamoep. They are a celebration of South Africa’s diversity, quirkiness and soul!
Contact me at lbeeart(at)gmail(dot)com if you are interested in buying one of these for one of your soon to be confused/amused friends.
If you want to read part of the story behind tweebuffels… click here.
And the article listed below is very interesting reading – also about South African coffee mugs!
- The Impact of a Mug: A Souvenir Story (psychologytoday.com)