Friday, April 22, 2011

Kalahari Ferrari & Nguni

Similar to my previous blog-entry [SEE: below], I'm again digressing from my more "customary" topics today by concentrating on "farm" instead of wild animals, etc. Also in stark contrast to a Ferrari, the Italian supercar, Kalahari Ferrari is the "nickname" for a donkey-cart in southern Africa - although in the 80's, a car, which wasn't "that great" was also called a Kalahari Ferrari, e.g. the "rust buckets" used by students as transport. Apparently it's also the "name" of a spider species found in India, although again, the name is said to have originated in the Kalahari-desert-part of southern Africa.

Seemingly content to apply themselves to sheer drudgery - "donkey-work" - these horse-related-mostly-draught-animals, when harnessed together in any number, represent the "driving force" of what is referred to as the Kalahari-Ferrari. Actually donkeys are highly intelligent beasts, and other "virtues" include strength, hardiness and a natural immunity to many diseases.

Also indigenous to southern Africa are the Nguni cattle, which were introduced by the pastrolist Nguni group of people (= Zulu, Xhosa, Swazi, Ndebele & Shangaan) on their southward migritation from north-eastern Africa a few centuries ago. Other than being bred for their meat, Nguni cattle were (also) originally draught animals.

Nguni cattle are characterised by their multicoloured & variously paterned hides, as well as a variety of horn shapes. They have long, productive lives & like donkeys, are immune to most diseases and parasites that often creates "havoc" amongst cattle breeders.

King Shaka (of the Zulus) bred Ngunis according to their colour patterns to produce skins that were used for the raw-hide shields by the different regiments of his army. Accordingly his elite personal guard was recognised by their attire of pure white shields from the cattle of the royal herd. To this day, white Nguni cattle are "allowed" to only be kept by the Zulu king.

I've included this (photo of a) horse for various reasons: 1) because it's related to donkeys & like donkeys, some horse breeds are draught animals; 2) it's multi-coloured like the Nguni cattle; & 3) the Ferrari logo (or trademark) is of a "prancing horse" - LOL

By way of a "comparison" - Friesland cattle have also found a home in southern Africa. Friesland are high-producing, black-and-white dairy cows, whilst the "name" is an adaption of the Holstein or Friesian cattle, which were originally bred in the Netherlands (in e.g. the province of Friesland).

From donkeys to catlle & horses - now sheep are "sharing" the environment with an ostrich = also a typical "phenomena" in southern Africa. Amongst the approx. 30 million sheep kept in South Africa, the greater proportion is merinos - a fine-wooled type - although merino farmers (mostly living in the arid parts of our country) are "battling" because the price of wool drastically fluctuated through the years & then reached an all-time low.

Sheep (like those in the photo above) are driven by herders when "on the move". But the "job" of herders also includes protecting the herd from "danger", e.g. (certainly in southern Africa) from predators on the prowl. However the baboon (on top of the water-tank) isn't out to catch a vulnerable lamb!!

Instead (or so it appears) the baboon is THE herder!!

I've "discussed this situation" before in a previous blog-entry, soon after taking this amazing series of photos during a family trip along the West Coast of our country. In the mean time I learned that other animals, like e.g. the imported (South) American alpaca, are also "employed" as herders on some farms in our country (as well as in other parts of the world), because they have an acute sense of danger lurking, warning their "wards", which respond by congregating into one big group - making it "rather difficult" for a predator to single out a vulnerable individual.

1 comment:

Elephant's Eye said...

Do you know why most flocks of sheep have a donkey? We live in Porterville in the Swartland.