Nguni Goat

Ark of taste
Back to the archive >

Also known as “Mbuzi” goats, the Nguni goat is a regionally specific eco-type that derives from the indigenous Veld goats, a population unique to Southern Africa. “Indigenous veld goat” is a collective term describing all varieties of native South African goat breeds. Over centuries the indigenous Veld goat survived a long and dangerous journey through Africa, accompanied by Nomadic peoples, who started migrating southwards from the Lake District region of Central Africa, during the 5th century.
The indigenous Veld goats are bred through natural selection, without human interference, to walk long distances, and browse on a wide variety of plants, shrubs and grasses.
They are highly fertile, have a long breeding season, they have excellent herding instinct to help protect themselves from predators, fighting them off with their sharp horns.

Early settlers started crossbreeding them with imported Indian goats in 1661, which is how the Boer Goat appeared, but it resulted in the near extinction of indigenous Veld goats during the 20th Century.

The Nguni type veld goat is the group that occurs more abundantly than the other types of indigenous goats, in southern Africa, they are distributed mostly on the northeastern part of the country. They are medium to small frame, and well proportioned, their medium to long legs, are strong and fine. The ears of the Nguni goat are medium to small and semi-pendulous, the profile of the face is flat or slightly concave.
The Nguni goat is multi-colored, with a wide variety of uniform colors, white, black, fawn, brown, red-brown, pied, dappled and speckled, and all combinations of these colors, and therefore difficult to see by predators. Most goats have a short, glossy hair coat, and some goats are inclined to grow cashmere in cold winters.
Horns are present in both sexes, growing upwards and outwards with many variations.

Within the Nguni ecotype there are some specific breeds that have been selected naturally according to the community and thus the environment in which they have been bred, such as the Zulu sheep, but also the Pedi and Swazi sheep.

The Nguni sheep is also an economically viable breed for its ability to live in a “free range” natural environment, and its resilience to local diseases, parasites, and climatic challenges.
Their meat has a good flavor, and is very low in cholesterol.

Meat, milk, hair and skins are valuable products to their owners but it also has an important cultural significance as the Zulu people slaughter the goats for traditional ceremonies.

Back to the archive >

Other info


Breeds and animal husbandry

Indigenous community:Zulu
Nominated by:Melissa de Billot