December: Springbok Moon

The springbok is one of South Africa’s most magnificent antelopes. It is our National Animal and also the emblem of the national rugby team.

The springbok (Antidorcas marsupialis) was one of the important sources of meat for the /Xam and presented them with great challenges when hunting it. Springboks are magic animals, so spiritually and physically close to the /Xam that the hunters can feel the movements of the animals sympathetically as beatings and tappings beneath their own skin. The springbok, according to /Xam mythology was created by the Mantis by feeding his creation with honey from brood combs.

The species name marsupialis refers to the mistaken observation by early travellers that the raised main on its back when it jumps was a pouch similar to the pouches of marsupial animals. Springbok do not have a specific, narrow breeding season but, generally speaking, they lamb mainly in early summer.

Place names associated with the springbok:

Springbok is a town in the Nama Khoi Local Municipality of the Northern Cape Province. It was founded in 1862 as a copper-mining centre and was first known as ‘Springbokfonteinʼ, ‘Springbok fountainʼ but the name was shortened in 1911. The origin of the name is a translation from Khoikhoi ‘Guchasʼ, ‘springbokʼ.

Mofulatshepe is a township in the Mohokare Local Municipality of the Free State Province and the name is Sesotho for ‘where the springboks grazeʼ (Antidorcas marsupialis). Previously it was known as ‘Tshepanong.

Springbokvlakte (Sprinkbok plains/flats) is an area around the town of Bela-Bela in the Bela-Bela Local Municipality of the Limpopo Province. The area extends to the Waterberg and Mokopane districts and probably reflects the abundance of springboks here in the past.

The second Full Moon in December is the Eland Moon.

Date of Springbok Moon (2021–2050)

2021 Dec 19, 06:36
2022 Dec 08, 06:12
2023 Dec 27, 02:36
2024 Dec 15, 11:06
2025 Dec 04, 01:18
2026 Dec 24, 03:30
2027 Dec 13, 18:06
2028 Dec 02, 03:36
2029 Dec 20, 00:48
2030 Dec 09, 00:42
2031 Dec 28, 19:36
2032 Dec 16, 22:54
2033 Dec 06, 09:24
2034 Dec 25, 11:00
2035 Dec 15, 02:36

2036 Dec 03, 16:06
2037 Dec 22, 15:36
2038 Dec 11, 19:30
2039 Dec 30, 14:42
2040 Dec 18, 14:18
2041 Dec 07, 19:48
2042 Dec 26, 19:48
2043 Dec 16, 10:06
2044 Dec 04, 01:36
2045 Dec 24, 02:48
2046 Dec 13, 11:54
2047 Dec 02, 13:54
2048 Dec 20, 08:42
2049 Dec 09, 09:30
2050 Dec 28, 07:18

Further reading

Skotnes, P. (2007) Claim To The Country. The Archive of Lucy Lloyd and Wilhelm Bleek. Jacana Media (Pty) Ltd.

Heritage Full Moons in South Africa

MonthFirst Full MoonSecond Full Moon
JanuaryMantis MoonLeopard Moon
FebruaryDassie Moon——
MarchHarvest MoonOchre Moon
AprilDiamond MoonGold Moon
MayFrost MoonFire Moon
JuneSisters MoonHoney Moon
JulyMeerkat MoonProtea Moon
AugustPeace MoonDusty Moon
SeptemberSpring MoonBlue Crane Moon
OctoberWhale MoonElephant Moon
NovemberMilk MoonWool Moon
DecemberSpringbok MoonEland Moon

Protecting South Africa’s astronomical heritage