Each coat pattern has a different name in isiNdebele, and if the animal has horns, they too all have names. Back in the day, when the Matabele lived in regiments, this coat pattern, “Inhlekwane,” was favoured by the Isiziba regiment.
As you can see, there is a wide variety of coat patterns. Nkone cattle usually have a dark skin (even if they have lighter hair colours) and must have a black nose, and black pigments around their eyes. These cattle are hardy and have to withstand high temperatures
Two bulls on Anglesea, “butting things out!” (Above)
This is a group of in-calf cows, just hanging out near the water trough. Those horn shapes are mostly Umdhlodhloma, according to John Brownlee, a researcher who wrote a booklet about the various horn shapes and coat colours.
Yup, as you can see, this set up is actually working, pumping water! Water is a constant problem in drought prone Matabeleland. This borehole is on a farm that used to be part of Anglesea, and is now resettled. They struggle to keep it running, and in return for helping them (with the logistics, like sheer legs and block-and-tackles) they supply us with water. They pump every couple of days, and its a fairly social affair:
This guy, below, came galloping in on his “ferrari” and made his dad mad, cos he nearly had a prang!
From the borehole, the water is pumped into the tank pictured, and then sent up to “us” on the hill about a kilometre away. From there its gravity fed to Anglesea. I, of course, climbed the hill!
This view is looking right at Bambata Cave.
I took a fair number of photos up there, which I have put into a gallery:
Farms, such as Whitby which have been divided up into small plots look much like “Communal Areas, or Tribal Trust Lands,” with traditional homes. I took these videos shortly after this visit. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NnCcBIImJ_k
I leave you today with a photo of a flat topped thorn tree, classic Matopos rocks in the background.
All my photos are taken in RAW and can be printed in A2 (comfortably) although some people bought them from me and printed to A1 without losing too much detail. Generally I donate any money raised to charity (recently it’s been to keep the farm kids occupied learning, during COVID lockdown) but I want to either get my camera fixed, (its got some marks on the inside of the lens) or replace it.
So, please drop me an email on email@example.com if you would like one hanging on your wall.
Our Nkone weaners have to be kraaled, on Anglesea Farm or hyena will eat them!!!
Their grazing paddock is about 500m from the kraal, and the chaps who look after them, walk them there very early in the mornings. In these photos, the sun was just peaking over the horizon, shining through the dust created by hundreds of little hooves.
Blessing Chakandanikira (a well known Bulawayo artist) used these images to paint several watercolours.
When the European settlers arrived in Africa, they found indigenous cattle here already. Crossed with exotic breeds, they produced animals with hybrid vigour. Unfortunately, the original stock became diluted over time. Thankfully, small pockets of pure lines were kept (mostly on research stations,) and the Anglesea Nkone cattle developed from one of these.
I love this little lady – she has such lovely markings – I love her eyebrows – its almost as if she is wearing make-up! These cattle are very tame and handleable, and this one in particular comes over to talk to me when I visit the herd. Of course all cattle on Anglesea are individually marked, with tags, brands and tattoos and we keep track of them (ie medicines administered, monthly weights, calving dates and to whom they were bulled,) in a database.
In the dry season in farming areas (and safari/National Parks) uncontrolled bush fires are a huge threat, not only to the grass and trees, but also the animals who live there. When the call goes out, we all arrive, assemble and wait for instructions from whoever is in charge.
We have a fire coordinator who monitors where fires are, and we all try to get together to help fight when necessary. I don’t fight fires, but I do offer logistical support, such as carrying people and water around.
On this occasion, it was pretty well entrenched in this valley, on our neighbour’s farm, Gladstone. We were instructed to keep it to the one side of the road – stop it jumping across.
Although destructive, fires provide some interesting subjects for photos.
This tree (above) is massive and the eerie light from the late afternoon sun was enhanced by the thick smoke.
I always feel so sorry for the animals and birds displaced by bushfires. One often sees a small buck tearing away from the fire, and birds flying about helplessly in the air above.