The History of the Ankole-Watusi breed is long and distinguished. Its lineage can be traced to before 4000 B.C. as proved by rock paintings in the Sub-Sahara, the Egyptian and Meroetic pyramids, before the first pharaohs ruled Egypt and Kush, when a breed known as the Hamitic Longhorn (according to animal historians) now commonly known as Ankole-Watusi lived along the Nile particularly prevailing around the shores of lake Victoria and Tanganyika. The Breed found its way into ancient Egypt.Over the period of 3,000 years later, the cattle found their way east through Ethiopia to Arabian peninsula and spread west into ancient Garama ( now Chad and Libya) and other parts of Africa. The majestic animal may have been a result of an African Buffalo Hybred with shorter extinct type of African Aurochs thousands of years ago or simply an original by itself.
Debunking general theory on Ankole-Watusi Cattle’s Origin from India.
The belief that the breed is originally a hybrid of Zebu from the Indian sub- continent, identifying it as a sub- specie Sanga cattle and therefore as an intermediate type formed by hybridizing the indigenous African humpless cattle with Zebu cattle allegedly brought in from India to Uganda seemingly over 40,000 years ago is largely unfounded or lacks historical evidence especially on how Indians brought in the Zebu to inland central Africa, bred it in Uganda forming the Sanga (Ankole-watusi) type and vanished back to Asia living the cow to the benefit of Bahima and Batusi peoples!!.
The Ankole-Watusi breed could be a hybrid of something else extinct (African Aurochs perhaps) with an African Buffalo or an original by itself considering the fact that, the first interaction of Asians and indigenous Central Africans did not take place until around 700 AD.The Breed is way too older to have initially been introduced during that period.
Instead the Zebu breed( dominant in south East Asia,..which might alternatively be an original by itself from Africa) could possibly be the intermediate stage between the breeding process towards the Ankole-watusi type and was henceforth cast for hard labor and economic tasks and taken to Asia from Africa many centuries back by the Elamites for farming and transportation tasks and adopted by Dravidians in the Indus valley and not the other way round.
Debunking theory of lower Egyptian origin of the Breed.
This theory thrives on a construed notion that everything remarkable in Africa started from lower Egypt and not on a merit of Egyptians importing it from else where in Africa, just because the only place on the continent where recorded history of ancient Africa managed to survive is largely seen in modern day Egypt on pyramid walls where these cattle have been painted .
Lower Egypt having been a desert area, there is no way this cattle specie could have originated in such sandy desert environment but most likely around the source of the Nile where there is vast plains of lush vegetation and fresh water in fair climate making it possible for such a majestic Animal to have come about and thrived.The appearance of the cow shows a specie that stemmed from a much greener environmental area compared to general characteristics of desert animals such as Camels.
This also proves that ancient Egyptians and Garamantes traveled and traded back and forth in-land Africa in search for Animals for domestication and other animal based products such as leopard skins,tasks,bones,blood,meat,grains, medicinal herbs, frankincense ,spices,fruits, iron,gold, Lime stone and slaves and concubines.Paintings of east African birds such as cranes,ibis and animals i.e giraffes and hyena e.t.c can be seen in ancient Egyptian art.Ancient people from the north of Africa i.e the Numidians,Garamantes and Egyptians traveled and interacted as far as the Zambezi river.It is during these early incidents of hunting and trading expeditions in pre-dynastic periods that the breed was taken to Saharan Kingdoms and Ancient Egypt from central African grasslands (Savannah) and later earned a symbolical reverence and worship among early Egyptians.They also regularly traveled from Egypt down south to the source of the Nile in Uganda and around lake Tanganyika alternatively to offer sacrifices to the Nile Gods and along several other positions on river’s journey north for its purification and flood inundation .Ancient Egyptians called the river Nile ”Iteru“. This in Rwanda and Burundi dialects is known as Iteru ry’umugyezi which means the flowing river.
The Ankole-Watusi cattle in Uganda, Rwanda , Burundi and Eastern Congo with their truly distinctive horns, are known around the world for their giant horns that can grow to eight feet in length.. ,in flat, circular or lyre shapes. These horns not only provide formidable defense against predators, but blood circulating through the honeycomb interior provides an efficient mechanism to cool the animal’s body temperature in a hot climatic instances, just like a giant radiator.
In Uganda the Banyankole/ Banyoro-Hima-Hema tribe’s variety is known as the Ente zenya-Ankole (ANKOLE CATTLE). In Rwanda and Burundi, the Tutsi-Nyamulenge tribe’s variety is called the Watusi(these involve of Inyambo and inkuku types) or Inka Ntutsi (WATUSI CATTLE). Culturally the animals that grew the longest horns were reserved for the royalty, and are called “Cattle of Kings” for this reason. The true name of this breed of cattle is the Ankole-Watusi from Hima-Nyankole and Tutsi tribes they originated from.In other tales the cattle are associated with the ancient Cwezi people and the batembuzi who are thought to have been the cows breeders and distributors over time.
Ankole-Watusi cows are spectacular in all aspects.They are elegant and graceful.Other tribes that depend on these breed of cows are the Masai,Banyoro,Bahaya and the Itesots
The Ankole-Watusi are medium-sized cattle, with bulls weighing up to 1,600 pounds and cows up to 1,200 pounds, standing approximately six feet tall at the shoulder and are a very social breed. Watusi horns can reach 8 feet tip to tip and can have a base circumference of up to 28 inches. Calves Newborn calves weigh just 30–50 pounds (14–23 kg) and remain small for several months
In East Africa, traditional wealth was measured in living heads of cattle.
ANKOLE COW AS SACRED.
The breed was/is sometimes regarded among Tutsi and Bahima tribes as sacred.Also in ancient Egyptian beliefs and contemporary Indo- religions.
The notion of a sacred cow is relatively seen in ancient Egyptian Tenetian faith which is an animal husbandry based faith also practiced by ancient Elamites. It existed from Africa to Indus valley.
This practice also stems from 70,000 years ago when hunter gatherers learnt to herd wild animals and eventual domestication of them.
Hitorical pictures/paintings of the breed