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How Pofadder Got its Name


Pofadder is a small town situated in the Northern Cape of South Africa. While pofadder means, as you would expect, puffadder (a type of snake) this town was named not for a scaley reptile but after a certain !Korana chief, Klaas Pofadder, who lived on Kanoneiland and died in the area when he was gunned down by local farmers.


(Image: Gregor Rohrig. Creative Commons License)


mission station was set up here in 1875 and named Pofadder. In 1918 the name was officially changed to Theronsville, but the original name stuck and was eventually re-employed.

Each year, in August, Pofadder makes an ideal base for exploring the surrounding area which is covered with a carpet of Namaqualand daisies following the rains.


Pofadder has several old buildings, including a Roman Catholic Church which was built by the mission. Today it runs a blockmaking enterprise, chicken farm and a dairy, which offers employment to the local communities.


In much the same way as we refer to places off the beaten track as being in Timbuctoo, South Africans often use the name of Pofadder to similar effect to refer to any far-flung small town backwater.


Want to know about the history of other South African place names? See our previous posts in this series, or send in ideas for future posts.


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(Thumbnail pic of puff adder by DanieVDM. Creative Commons Licence)

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