The History of the Ankole-Watusi breed originally known as Inyambo cows is long and distinguished. Its lineage can be traced to before 4000 B.C.E as proved by excavated bones as well as rock paintings in the Sub-Sahara and the Egyptian and Meroitic pyramids. It existed before the first pharaohs ruled Egypt and Kush, a time when this breed known as the Hamitic Longhorn and commonly known as Ankole-Watusi lived along the Nile basin particularly prevailing around the shores of Lake Victoria and Tanganyika. Over a period of 3,000 years, the Watusi headed east through Abyssinia to Arabian Peninsula after spreading north into ancient Egypt, westwards into Garama (now Chad and Libya) and other parts of Africa. The majestic animal may have been a result of an African Buffalo hybrid with the shorter extinct type of African Aurochs thousands of years ago and originated around the western shores of Lake Victoria.

Debunking general theory on Ankole-Watusi Cattle’s Origin from India.

The twisted 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 regarded as an intermediate type  formed by hybridizing the indigenous African humpless cattle with Zebu kind allegedly brought in from India to Uganda  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 is totally unlikely therefore safe to say, never happened.

The Ankole-Watusi is 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 C.E. The Breed is way too older to have initially been introduced to Africa during that period. The breeding process towards a Watusi produced the Zebu as an intermediary (dominant in south East Asia, which was introduced there from Africa) and was henceforth cast for hard labor and economic tasks many centuries ago by the Elamites for farming and transportation exercises and adopted by Dravidians in the Indus valley but not the other way round. The Ankole breed is very distinct from the Ongole breed of India. The Ankole Watusi is exclusive in its appearance, especially by its very long Horns. None of the other long-horned Cows seen in Chad, Mali, Senegal, Ethiopia and even those painted on Egyptian walls project the exactness in similarity with Cows found in Ankole. The intricacy of the shapes and lengths of their horns and the smooth hair on their skins and often fine dark brown, light brown, reddish-brown, brown with white spots and black colors; are no exact correspondence with those Cows seen outside the great lakes of East Africa suggesting that those Sanga Cows which were/or are found around and beyond the tropic of cancer and Capricorn are sub-Watusi breeds. The Watusi Cows originated in the East African Savannah grasslands just like the African Buffalo and in the similar ways other unique mammals such as Giraffes, Elephants, and Lions originated in that particular region of the planet. The Far East Asian Humped Zebu which was introduced by Elamites and Dravidians there has eventually acquired and shared genes from a native Bos frontalis sire of a Bovine family since its introduction in Asia 2500 years ago. Cows of this region are more closely related to the Bison and the water  Buffalo than the exclusive refined class of Watusi.

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 elsewhere in Africa.

These ideas arise from the fact that the only place on the continent where most of the recorded ancient African history is found is in Egypt where pictographic rendition of similar cattle can be seen on monuments. Lower Egypt having been a desert area, bares no way this cattle specie could have originated from such a sandy and barren environment but most likely from around the source of the Nile where vast plains of lush vegetation and fresh water in  a fair climate made it possible for such a majestic animal to have emerged at and thrived.The appearance of the Watusi shows a specie that stemmed from a much greener environmental area compared to the general characteristics of desert animals such as the camels and the cows found in arid areas of northern Kenya, Sudan, Ethiopia, and Mali.

The suggestion that these Cows originated in Egypt, is like saying that Llamas in South America originated in Scotland because they resemble Sheep or that Camels originated in Chile because they resemble Llamas. Surely Lions did not originate around Cairo either because they are erected as monuments (part of the Sphinx) there.

Hima migration fallacy

This notion is also based off a common theory that the Hima-Tutsi people migrated to Kitara (Uganda-Rwanda) area from modern day Ethiopia without carefully considering far earlier state of affairs of the Nile river people and their homogeneity along the river’s journey north. Hima-Tutsi as nomadic people were spread along the Nile since before the first Egyptian dynasty. They are primarily autochthonous to the Nile base. There has been a huge emphasis  put into the southward migration theory from the Abyssinian highlands by secular academicians but not a reversal possibility of Hima migrating north and eastwards from Karagwe towards Abyssinia. The Abyssinian people of Africa that have been pointed out by the colonial writers to be kins of Hima people hence claimed to be  the source where Bahima originated from,  have ancient roots from among the Maasai and Hima-Tutsi from the plain shores of Lake Victoria and rift valley volcanic mountain plains and  not the-other-way round as the general academia has ventured to promote and confuse.

Groups such as the Afar, Galla/Oromo, Agau, Sidama, Dir and Beja as the native dwellers of Abyssinia, Somalia, and Yemen have ancient origins from nomadic people of the great lakes of central and east Africa via their eponymous ancestor Khm who Somalians refer to as Mahe.

We find term Gala (Gara) for instance to have been another name for ancient Toro which may suggest Galla people of the horn of Africa to have origins at. Additionally, more places in Karagwe and ancient Rwanda bore the same name suggesting an earlier influence of the Gala clan in those regions. Wider theories, however, put the Gala (also known as the Oromites) to have origins in ancient Iran. A Less known reality is that at some point in history, exclusive cattle raring tribes (mostly Nilotes who the Hima and the Gala are part of) were vastly spread from the beginnings of the Nile to ancient Mesopotamia.

The hypothesis of Hima-Tutsi origins from outside of Havilah (Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Congo, Kenya, Tanzania) was proposed as one of the many tools of use in divide and conquer policy of the colonizer by mainly supplanting native history with his newly twisted version, in a plot to alienate the native from his homeland and with terminal goal to instill historical confusion, pseudo hostilities, bitter tribal conflicts and ultimately genocides as materialized in the last quarter of the 20th century.

The Hima-Tutsi existence extended from the Nile source seamlessly through to Levant. There was a great deal of nomadic lifestyle that stretched to modern Iraq.(A possibility of black people being prehistoric natives of lands stretching all the way to Sweden is another debate).

The general mainstream teaching of Hima-Tutsi migration theory from Ethiopia disregards such fact by concocting and constricting it in the following ways:

i.That the Hima-Tutsi were foreigners who migrated towards the Nile source from north of the Nile around 1000 C.E        This is half a myth.  

FACT: Black refugees including those of Pharoanic bloodlines returned to lake Victorian shores, rejoining people of their kind following Eurasian invasions beginning 6th-century B.C.E to 70 C.E. More phases of returnees including Bantus and Nubians to the deep jungles and on plains of Africa, took place until 700 C.E following later invasions by Mohammedan Arabs. Those blacks who remained suffered massacres, slavery, and rape which explains the mulatto effect on the majority of Horner’s modern appearance, especially among Djiboutis, Ethiopians, Beja and north Sudanese.

ii.That the Hima-Tutsi came as Conquerors. This is False.    

FACT:    Hima-Tutsi lived with rest of groups as a termite caste hierarchy. Each tribe respected and valued the other and worked together to uphold and safeguard their clusters. There is no legend of a war of conquer between Hima-Tutsi with the Twa and the Bantu. There is, however, tales of wars between Kingdoms and Kingdoms after the disintegration of Bunyoro-Kitara empire beginning 12th-century C.E.

iii. That the Hutu (Bantu) and the Twa were also not spread all the way to Cairo and beyond Suez. False.

Fact: Bantu/Hutu and other Nubian groups were present in Khmt and beyond to Mesopotamia as the general population.


Bantu male with sandals on,fine fabric around waist with Bantu designs carrying Leopard skin and Monkey while guiding Goat.8th century BC Mesopotamia.


Hima-Tutsi as portrayed on ancient rocks

Groups found around modern day Lake Victoria retreated in a massive exodus from the north of Africa following Greco-Roman and Persian-Arab invasions. They arrived at the Nile source finding and rejoining earlier groups of their kind that dwelt there.

The Greco and Roman invasions which gave way to Ptolemaic and Alexander rulership respectively, were initially characterized by brutality to the indigenous black people of north Africa and Ancient Khmt (Egypt) in particular. The brutality and massacres had successfully been done on black Carthaginians (who were children of black Sidonians commonly known as Phoenicians) then done on Libyans and blacks on Islands of Patmos.

The exodus of the groups of relatives of the Nubian Pharaohs and Khmtic blue bloods initially evacuated to Napata and later Kush with their Cows and symbols of power and eventually continued in retreatment  further south towards Uganda, Rwanda/Burundi while other groups headed east to Somalia/Yemen/Eritrea and West to Mali and Senegal. A hidden aspect that is never investigated upon and discussed .

Along the Hima-Tutsi, also Elements of Twa, Bantu, west Africans, Sudanic Nilotes and other groups faced a retreat and exodus from the north Africa around the same time.

These groups were the citizenry and general population in urban areas of Khmt who provided labor services to the pharaohs and the government but also worship and sacrifices to the Gods especially Imn-Re.

Before the Eurasian Invasions of North Africa, ancient khmtians and thier neighbours often 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, dried meat, grains, medicinal herbs, frankincense, spices, seeds, fruits, Salt, Iron, Gold, Limestone, meteorites, laborers, and brides.

Paintings of East African birds such as the crested Cranes, Ibis and animals such as the Giraffes and the Lions can be seen in ancient Egyptian art. There are no depictions of non-African animals such as polar Bears, Bengal Tigers, Bisons, Reindeer and Wolves on ancient Khmtian and Nubian walls.

Additionally, people such as the Numidians and the Garamantes traveled back and forth 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 Watusi breed was further taken to Saharan Kingdoms from the Savannah grasslands and later earned a symbolic reverence and worship among early general North Africans.

The Reverence of the lands of the Nile Source as a holy place by ancient north Africans.

Ancient Khmtians regularly traveled from Egypt down south to the source of the  Nile  alternatively to offer  sacrifices to the  Nile Gods  and along several other positions on river’s journey north for more appropriate rituals, its purification and flood inundation. These Ancient Egyptians called the river Nile “Iteru”. This in Rwanda and Burundi dialects completes as Iteru ry’umugyezi utemba which translates as “the river that flows forth”.

The Ankole-Watusi Horns

 The Ankole-Watusi cattle in Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Tanzania 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  hot climatic instances, just like a giant radiator.

In Uganda, the Banyankole-Banyoro-Hima/Hema tribe’s variety is known as the Ente zeny’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 the Kings” for this reason. The true name of this breed of cattle is Inkha z’Inyambo or Ente z’Enyambo. They are sometimes referred to as Encwezi. The term Ankole-Watusi was devised by the British agent and explorer John Hanning Speke during his trips to the Nile source in the late 1800s due to the tribes he felt owned these unique cows he could not understand what these cows were and could not pronounce their traditional names properly.

The Ankole-Watusi as a Cwezi legacy

The breed is estimated to be over 7000 years old and is associated with the ancient Cwezi people who are thought to have been the cow’s breeders and distributors over time. The breed’s pictographs around Africa and Asia show places where the Cwezi or their kins have dwelled in history. The pictographs can be seen from the Nile source to the Sahara and the Arabian Peninsula. These Cows convey an important reminder on how ancient and royally connected the Wahima-Watusi pastoralists were in the history of African civilizations. How they became the custodians and rightful owners of these unique and majestic animals is a worthy road for the investigators to unravel.

The Ankole-Watusi Cows are spectacular in all aspects. They are elegant and graceful. Relative tribes that depend on this breed of Cows are the Masaai, Banyoro, Bahaya, Rendile, Herero, Himba and the Itesots. Near similar cows are found among west African Fulanis, Sudanic Dinka, Nuer and some Ethiopians.

 The Size

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 Watusi Cows as SACRED

The breed was/is sometimes regarded among the Tutsi and Hima people as sacred.This reverence is seen in ancient Khmtian beliefs and contemporary Indo-religions. The notion of a sacred cow was large in ancient khmtian Tenetian faith which was an animal husbandry based faith that was also practiced by ancient Elamites. It existed from Africa to the Indus valley.

In ancient khmt, the book of heavenly Cow features an illustrated large Watusi showing order between mankind and Gods. The book goes on to reveal  mankind’s rebellion against the elder Sun God, Re, resulting in the punishment of humans by the fiery “eye” of Re in the form of the Goddess Hathor. It takes place after Re’s long rule on earth. The Ankole-Watusi was a metaphysical symbol of the Milky way galaxy and was the original symbol of “Life” before the Ankh sign came into existence. The Ankh mimics the cow’s face and the semi-circular horns besides a woman’s fallopian tube.


In Rwanda/Burundi -Amashyo/Amashongore is a line of Watusi on way to a water source.At a water source,the herdsman (Mushumba) would pour mega litres of water from the well using a special bucket into a long clay trough (Kibumbiro) attached to the Well for Cows to drink and the process is called ”Kuhira”.

Horns can also grow to form a circular love-like shape.The ANKH design mimics this type of Cow head and horns

dickinson52114903273_2c25f4bc73 Hitorical pictures/paintings of the breed

In predynastic Egypt, cows were associated to deities and can be seen held supreme in Egyptian and Kushitic art.
Royal Kubandwa ceremony

*The Ankole/Watusi specie is fast becoming an endangered Animal and needs national & international protection.

Since the persecution and expulsion of the Tutsi people  from Rwanda in 1959 and 1973,the government of the time associated Watusi breed to the Tutsi  and the type was systematically set for mass slaughter by Habyarimana government and farmers were instead advised to take on Zero grazing with exotic Holstein Friesians imported from Belgium and France.The longhorn has been brought back in small numbers however with the return of Tutsi from exile since 1995, but the breed is none the less tilting on the blink of extinction in Rwanda due to less land,overpopulation and excessive modern commercial demands for organic meat and more milk leading to a severe decrease of Watusi numbers.This has led  most farmers to opt more for Holsteins and foreign Beef breeds.
The Ankole-Watusi  is also threatened by massive commercial demand for beef, horn, and skin in Ugandan capital Kampala and sub-cities like Mbarara. Breed is being slaughtered in large numbers on daily basis at an alarming rate to meet the demand for meat by a large population.New farming trends are leading farmers to cross  it with Holstein for more Milk and they are additionally trading it for Friesians which  nearly puts the indigenous majestic longhorn type onto the list of  the world’s most endangered domestic Animals.The Ankole Cow is facing the same fate in Burundi,Tanzania and is almost wiped out in the Congo due to prolonged war and conflict there.

About gakondo

East African History,Uganda,Rwanda,Burundi,Bunyoro-Kitara,Ankole,Karagwe,Buganda,Eastern Congo,Nubia, Ancient Nile river Kingdoms,Kush,Nile valley,Great Rift Valley,Eden garden,Kemet,Sumer,Ancient Congo,Havilah
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  1. Pingback: Day 18: Camel Spit & Llama Sex, or, When It’s OK to Break a Writing Routine | In the Garden of Eva

  2. Kaliisa Abdunoor says:

    The research is good but need
    someone is lost in tressing the origin.
    I would suggest that the search should start with the immigration of Jacob and Josef to Egypt. The Jews in Palestine belong to only two sons of Jacob yet the Bible and Koran tells about twelve children. where are the descendants of Ten?
    other theory is that the Tutsi, Hima, Somali and some Ethiopians (kushites) empire are the offsprings of Solomon and Balkis (Sheba).
    and it is where they derive their spiritual (Divine) powers? .
    I like the research I request and pray that you continue it very interesting and scholary.
    Also you can go through athropology and folklore of some tribes for example: In Palestine those Jews who did not leave (Bedouins) who still have Cows and Camels behave traditionally like Hima/Tutsi even the songs and dressing.
    This happens to Mauritanians in North west as well.
    All these questions needs answers.
    Am now proud to find somebody who is tired of European arms chair researches.
    Thank you

  3. gakondo says:

    The Biblical narrative of immigration of Jews to Egypt and their eventual enslavement is to be taken with a pinch of salt.It is partly through such tales that the Ancient Egyptians are demonized and portrayed in a negative form in Christianity and Islam.We need to find out whether these stories truly happened and whether they are recorded in the Papyri or on the walls.There has to be a cunning reason why Constantine writers sought to portray Egypt in an evil light after stealing all the knowledge and ancient writings of the Egyptians.Constantine was looking to building a new 1000 year global empire with a narrative that put his kind above other races.It explains why every Nile Valley Black Christian/Moslem hates and disassociates themselves from ancient Egypt and relates it to evil and satanism.There must be a deliberate twisting and de-Africanization of the Jew history that was done and what we think are Jews may be impersonators.
    Secondly, the Hima/Tutsi,Habesha and Somalians precede King Solomon they are not off-springs of Solomon’s union with Makeda but rather the royal bloodline of Ethiopia stemmed from that marriage starting with Menelik I.

    This article is steeped in the “origin” because a lot of Africans are lost due to a lack of understanding of the far origins of many aspects of their history.It is important for us to critically meditate about what we are told define us and to bravely revisit the genesis in order to understand ourselves and what is happening to us better.

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