Soutpan is a town in the Lejweleputswa District in the Free State province of South Africa. Afrikaans for ‘salt pan or depression’, the name is derived from a large geographical feature of that type, on the slopes of which the Florisbad archaeological site is situated. This natural spring is an important site for palaeontology and zoology, as it is the spot at which many fossils, such as the, now extinct, Pelorovis (giant buffalo) and the world renowned Florisbad skull, were discovered. The latter refers to a hominid skull that has been estimated to be some 260 000 years old, it is an important link in understanding the development of the human family tree.
Ever wondered why this landmark in the city centre of Bloemfontein is called Naval Hill?
Bloemfontein does not have a naval base, nor is it close to the ocean. The origin of the name is steeped in the history of the town.
Naval Hill, one of the best-known landmarks in Bloemfontein, was named after the British Naval Brigade stationed there during the Anglo Boer War.
Sixty-one years ago in 1958, a local golfer, David Motati (on the far right in the attached picture), won a stroke play event at the non-white golf course in Bloemfontein. Motati, also known by his nickname ‘Bobby Locke’ (after a famous white South African golfer), famously went on to caddy for Gary Player in the subsequent whites-only SA Open according to the South African Golf Association’s website . Today, this event and player is totally forgotten and even less is known about the history of golf within South Africa’s black communities.
Long before Charles Darwin came up with his theory of natural selection,(and in doing so providing the English language with numerous adjectives for his name), Frenchman and naturalist Jean Baptiste Lamarck (1744 – 1829) (Figure 1) attached his own name to the concept of the inheritance of acquired characteristics. ‘Lamarckian’ refers to this doctrine which is also known as “soft hereditary”, but it was merely an incidental feature of Lamarck’s philosophy on nature.