The abundant Nguni herds

first_imgSo you think a cow is a cow is a cow? Think again. South Africa’s indigenous Nguni cattle, long the mainstay of traditional Zulu culture, are possibly the most beautiful cattle in the world, with their variously patterned and multicoloured hides everywhere in demand.Their beauty and the lore and terminology that has become associated with them in Zulu culture is celebrated in a richly illustrated coffee table book called The Abundant Herds, which has fast become a worldwide bestseller.First published in November 2003, the book was sold out by the end of the year. The reprint of June 2004 was entirely snapped up by September of that year, and it was printed again in November 2004. The third reprint appeared in December 2005.The Abundant Herds: A Celebration of the Nguni Cattle of the Zulu People is an appreciation of the creative imagination and linguistic versatility of the Zulu people. Written by acclaimed author Marguerite Poland and social anthropologist David Hammond-Tooke, it is an overview of the history of the Nguni cattle and their economic, social, political and spiritual importance to the Zulu people, both past and present.There are two species of cattle in the world: Bos taurus, or European cattle, are the more familiar brown-and-black breeds such as Jersey and Holstein. Bos indicus, on the other hand, are found mainly in India and Africa, and include more unusual creatures such as Zebu, Sanga and Nguni cattle. They are characterised by their enormous horns and magnificent hides.With beautiful oil and watercolour paintings and sepia drawings by artist Leigh Voigt, The Abundant Herds examines the role played by cattle and cattle-related imagery in the oral tradition of the Zulu people – how cattle terminology can form part of the worldview associated with Zulu culture.For hundreds of years, the well-being of the herds and the Zulu people have been so closely connected that cattle have become a part of the people’s spiritual and aesthetic lives.The poetry of namingThis has given rise to a poetic and complex naming practice. The Abundant Herds explains that the fine and subtle nuance of the isiZulu language captures the delicate interrelationship between cattle terminology and the natural world, where the colour and pattern of a hide or the shape of a pair of horns is linked to images in nature.In a chapter called The Poetry of Naming, Poland discusses this colour-pattern terminology, its origins and its metaphorical associations with natural phenomena such as birds, animals and plants. Animals with specific colours and patterns on their hides are given unique Zulu names, which translate as follows:The eggs of the lark – a creamy coat spotted with fine rust speckles.The gaps between the branches of the trees silhouetted against the sky – a deeply dappled animal.The hornbill takes to flight – a dark beast which shows a flash of white beneath its flank when its walks.What stabs the rain – the upright points of a young steer’s horns.While these terms form the core of a fascinating system of classification, cattle imagery also abounds in Zulu oral history and poetry; in tales, proverbs, riddles and the praises of individual beasts, celebrated by their owners for their fertility, their vigour and their character and which subtly reflect the changing fortunes and social concerns of the Zulu people.Although cattle terms continue to be used today among peasant farmers in rural communities throughout Africa, for the younger, urban generation this knowledge is fading. Despite the resurgence of interest in the economic importance of Sanga-Nguni cattle in South Africa today, there is a real danger that a precious branch of indigenous knowledge will disappear.The aim of this work is not only to record something of this heritage for posterity but also to celebrate the richness of Zulu linguistic versatility and the creative imagination of the Zulu people.The authorsDr Marguerite Poland is a distinguished writer, having published 10 children’s books before turning to adult fiction. She has received the Percy Fitzpatrick Award and the Sankei Honourable Award for Children’s Books for the Japanese translation of The Mantis and the Moon. In May 2005, at the Literary awards, she was presented with a Lifetime Achievers Award in English by Arts and Culture Minister Pallo Jordan. The Abundant Herds is based on research for her doctoral thesis at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, awarded in 1997.The late Professor David Hammond-Tooke was Professor Emeritus of Social Anthropology at Wits University. He conducted extensive research among South African groups, especially the South Nguni and North Sotho, and his theoretical interests included kinship, local government, religion, folklore, indigenous symbolic systems, historiography and comparative ethnography.Leigh Voigt is an internationally acclaimed artist, known particularly for her paintings of birds and wildlife. She has illustrated eight books and has exhibited in South Africa, Europe, Great Britain, Canada and the US, where her work is represented in numerous private and public collections. Lulu Phezulu: Leigh Voigt’s African Album, her autobiographical account of life in the bushveld, which she both wrote and illustrated, won the prestigious BookData Booksellers’ Award in 2000.The Abundant Herds: A Celebration of the Nguni Cattle of the Zulu People (ISBN 1 874950 69 5) is published by Fernwood Press.last_img read more

Long Walk: backing South Africa’s film industry

first_img2 December 2013 The government’s investment in Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, the film adaption of Nelson Mandela’s autobiography, was an important part of its plan to build a world-class film industry in South Africa, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) said in a statement on Friday. The film, which tells the story of Mandela’s life from childhood to his inauguration as South Africa’s first democratically elected president, was released to critical acclaim in South Africa last week. The DTI invested R60-million in the film as part of a highly competitive rebate system. “As far as the DTI is concerned, it has been money well spent,” the department said. Rob Davies, South Africa’s minister of trade and industry, said the movie rebate system had attracted a stream of movie makers to the country over the past few years. “During the current administration’s term of office, the DTI has quadrupled the support it provides to the film industry in the country, and Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom is as a big landmark for the South African film industry,” Davies said. “I think it will end up with a few Oscar nominations – and, perhaps, even win an Oscar or two.”Job creation The production has created 12 000 local jobs. “And the beauty of this job-creation exercise was that all these jobs were transferred from highly skilled international practitioners to local people,” Sidwell Medupe, the department’s spokesman, said. “Wherever possible, goods and services were procured from broad-based black economic empowered companies.” The DTI’s film incentive programme is “one the best programmes of the department in terms of the co-operative relationship that we have been able to build with local and foreign producers as well as the results that we have been able to achieve in relation to our government’s objectives”, Medupe said. The DTI has approved 71 film productions under the rebate system in 2012/13. Besides Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, there have been a number of other significant successes, such as Safe House, starring Denzel Washington and Ryan Reynolds.Box office success Other DTI-backed movies recently filmed in South Africa include the $125-million Mad Max – Fury Road, Chronicle, Dredd, and Mary and Martha, a TV drama starring Hilary Swank. These movies follow on Blood Diamond, which stars Leonardo DiCaprio, and Invictus, the film about Mandela and the 1995 Rugby World Cup, starring Matt Damon as Springbok captain Francois Pienaar. The “tremendous performance of the animated feature Zambezia made us proud at the box office”, Medupe added. According to the DTI’s film and TV production incentive unit, more than R500-million had been invested in 50 local films in just over a decade. These include Tsotsi, which won an Oscar for best foreign language film in 2005. Other critically acclaimed movies made in South Africa include Hotel Rwanda, Red Dust and Country of My Skull. SAinfo reporter and Department of Trade and Industrylast_img read more

EPA rule exempts farms from emissions reporting

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency proposed a rule exempting livestock farmers from reporting to state and local authorities the routine emissions from their farms.“The rule announced today is the final piece in the implementation of the FARM Act, which passed Congress earlier this year and which eliminated the need for livestock farmers to estimate and report to the federal government emissions from the natural breakdown of manure,” said Jim Heimerl, president of the National Pork Producers Council, a pork producer from Johnstown, Ohio. “That bipartisan measure was approved because it was unnecessary and impractical for farmers to waste their time and resources alerting government agencies that there are livestock on farms.”The Fair Agricultural Reporting Method, or FARM, Act fixed a problem created last April when a U.S. Court of Appeals rejected a 2008 EPA rule that exempted farmers from reporting routine farm emissions under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA). Commonly known as the “Superfund Law,” CERCLA is used primarily to clean hazardous waste sites but also includes a mandatory federal reporting component.The appeals court ruling would have forced tens of thousands of livestock farmers to “guesstimate” and report the emissions from manure on their farms to the U.S. Coast Guard’s National Response Center and subjected them to citizen lawsuits from activist groups.EPA’s latest proposed rule would exempt farmers from reporting to state and local first responders under the federal Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA) — an adjunct to CERCLA — that they have “hazardous” emissions on their farms.“The pork industry wants regulations that are practical and effective, but applying CERCLA and EPCRA to livestock farms would be neither,” Heimerl said. “Pork producers are very strong stewards of the environment and have taken many actions over the years to protect it.”As evidence: The pork industry and other livestock sectors are working closely with state and local emergency response agencies to ensure they receive information about farms that is useful, and yesterday Smithfield Foods announced new projects to help the company reach its goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions 25% by 2025.The world’s largest pork producer and hog processor is expanding its “Smithfield Renewables” platform — its industry-leading carbon reduction and renewable energy efforts — to help meet that goal. It will implement over the next 10 years, for example, manure-to-energy projects at 90% of its hog finishing spaces in North Carolina and Utah and at nearly all finishing spaces in Missouri and convert existing anaerobic lagoons to covered digesters, or construct new covered digesters, to capture biogas.last_img read more

House clears $19 billion disaster aid package

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest By Kolt BuchenrothAfter months of waiting, Congress voted to pass the $19 billion disaster aid package. The House passed the measure 354-58 on June 3. The measure was previously blocked in the House by Texas Republican Chip Roy before the Memorial Day holiday, citing the absence of many of his colleagues due to the holiday break. It passed the Senate in late May.The package provides relief for Americans impacted by flood, drought, wildfires, tornados and other natural disasters. The package also provides relief to Puerto Rico’s rebuilding efforts following the 2017 hurricane that struck that island.Primary opposition to the bill was from House Republicans citing the absence of funding for border security, as requested by President Donald Trump.The bill heads to the desk of the president who is expected to sign the measure into law.last_img read more

Don’t wait until the trip to the funeral home to discuss family farm transfers

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest By Kolt Buchenroth, Ohio Ag NetIt is so easy to put off tough questions about family farm transitions from one generation to the next, but those discussions are important to have before it is too late. Jolene Brown spoke at yesterday’s Farm Science Review (and will be talking at the event again today) about the importance of these  conversations prior to the trip to the funeral home.“Everyone knows brothers and sisters or aunts and uncles or other people who aren’t talking to each other. That’s because people didn’t do things when the times were good to have the tools and means in place when we get tested. Then, because they don’t have things clarified in writing and because they didn’t operate like a business, we have this big explosion on the way to the funeral home,” Brown said.Brown is a professional farm speaker and writes a column for Successful Farming and Pink Tractor.  She also farms with her husband Keith, in West Branch, Iowa. Brown’s presentations are being held in the Celebration tent just outside the west gate on the grounds. In her conversation’s with producers at the Farm Science Review, Brown is detailing 10 things that break up a family business.“These are things like a conversation is not a contract, money matters, and more,” Brown said. “But, the number one thing I’ll be talking about is what 95% of my calls are about. People are operating as a family-first business. That means they don’t rock the boat and make dad mad. We’ll just all get along and hope we can get farming.”Brown is going to help producers be what she calls a “business-first family.”“That doesn’t mean we’re going to put the business before the family. That just means if we love and honor you this much, we’re going to get the business right,” she said.Brown recognizes the extraordinary year, and how that can be even more of a stress burden on producers.“From Mother Nature, to low commodity prices and adding in tariffs and politics, it’s a heavy load. I don’t want our farmers going through this alone. They need to take care of themselves and not forget about their friends and neighbors either,” Brown said.As the old adage goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure when it comes to rural stress and Brown touts the prevention.“The reason I’m doing this talk is to make sure they have a good foundation built on good solid ground. Not on shifting sand. Then, when we’re tested, we have that foundation underneath us,” she said. “That’s what increases our profitability, productivity, and our peace of mind. Then, we can sit together happily at a holiday table.”Brown will be speaking at the Farm Science Review today from 10 to 11 a.m. She will also be around the grounds to talk with farmers who may have questions.last_img read more

Buckeyes look to improve passing game against Spartans

Senior wide receiver Devin Smith (9) hauls in a catch for a touchdown during a game against Illinois on Nov. 1 at Ohio Stadium. OSU won, 55-14 as Smith caught a pair of touchdowns from redshirt-freshman quarterback J.T. Barrett.Credit: Mark Batke / Photo editorIn its last matchup against the Michigan State Spartans, Ohio State completed just eight passes in a 34-24 loss in the Big Ten Championship Game.Entering Saturday’s rematch, senior tight end Jeff Heuerman said the passing game will be essential to pulling the upset over No. 7 Michigan State.“I think you have to throw it effectively. Throwing it effectively will open up the run game and vice versa, running it will open up the passing game,” he said Wednesday. “So I think they kind of work hand-in-hand.”In preparation for the Spartans, OSU coach Urban Meyer said he does not expect Michigan State to change its defense too drastically because of how talented it is.“I think any time you face a defense like this, there will be new adjustments,” Meyer said Tuesday during the Big Ten teleconference. “There will not be a new defense.”The Spartans boast the third-best defense in the Big Ten, allowing just 279.4 yards per game. They are led by redshirt-junior defensive lineman Shilique Calhoun who has been named a Chuck Bednarik and Lombardi award semifinalist along with OSU sophomore defensive lineman Joey Bosa.Senior wide receiver Devin Smith said Wednesday that while he believes the Spartan defense has improved, he doesn’t see much difference in its scheme.“We know that they like to blitz a lot, they like to play press so we are just going to try and take advantage there,” Smith said. “We have worked (on) a bunch of different things in practice so we are just looking to go out there and show it on Saturday.”Watching the Spartan defense has been a struggle for Smith, who said he is looking forward to Saturday.“I don’t really watch much of Michigan State this year just for the fact that what happened last year and they (are) kind of still on my mind,” Smith said Wednesday. “We want to hurry up and get to Saturday.”Smith went as far as to say that Saturday’s matchup is the biggest game he has played in during his career at OSU.“Probably No. 1 to be honest. With what happened last year and what we are going up against, and the circumstances that we are in, I thinks it’s right up there,” he said.While Smith is having trouble watching the film, fellow senior wide receiver Evan Spencer said Wednesday that he has seen things on the tape that he believes the Buckeye offense can take advantage of.“They have their certain things that we are going to try to exploit and I’m sure they do ours for their side of the ball,” Spencer said. “I think that we will be very successful as a receiver room and as an offense as a whole just because of our preparation and the way we have looked throughout the week.”Echoing Spencer, Smith said he believes taking shots downfield will be a way for OSU to open up its passing game.“I think that’s key. We just got to take every opportunity that we can and go in on Saturday and be ready,” Smith said.Taking chances downfield was something the Buckeyes couldn’t seem to do against the Spartans last year as they accumulated just 101 yards through the air.In an eerily similar circumstance, the Buckeyes completed just nine passes against Virginia Tech earlier this season, ultimately resulting in a 35-21 loss.While the quarterback is different this year for OSU, Smith said he believes redshirt-freshman J.T. Barrett will be ready for the challenge the Spartans will present.“He is taking it like it is just a regular game,” Smith said. “He knows what this game means to this whole program and he just came in here all week and just worked hard and he is ready.”In addition to his preparation, Meyer added that Barrett “looks great,” after suffering a sprained MCL in the first half against Penn State less than two weeks ago.Meyer also said that he reminded his players this week that Saturday’s matchup encapsulates why they came to OSU.“I just had a conversation with our players. This is why they are trained. Every second of everything we do in the program from off-season to summer conditioning to training camp, we are training you for moments like this,” Meyer said. “Compete for a championship in November.”The Buckeyes and Spartans are set to kick off in East Lansing, Mich., at 8 p.m. read more