these are the magnificent lyre-horned cattle of interlacustrine Africa, the ones kept by my wife’s people for centuries. She grew in the southwestern Ugandan province of Ankole, and when a delegation of her in-laws went to ask her father for my hand in l989, he set the bride price at three cows. But when we were married in her village in April of the following year, in a fantastic bash with incredible dancing, feasting and speech-making that went on for three days, we were given 36 cows ! The best deal I have ever made it my life. They are a portable source of protein and the beauty of women, the shades of their skin, was described in traditional Tutsi culture in terms of the colors of their hides. They gave rise to all kinds of mystical identification among the people of the region.
Here’s a blog from Worldwatch’s Web site, Nourishing the Planet, about how Ankole cows are far better adapted to the droughts that have been hitting central and east Africain the last few years than the commercial breeds that are becoming increasingly the cattle of choice http://blogs.worldwatch.org/nourishingtheplanet/ankole-regal-hardy-and-declining-cattle-breed/
Another blog has a great photo of a herd of Ankole cows and says they are in decline in east africa yet they have the lowest cholesterol of any beef. http://blogs.dfid.gov.uk/2009/05/livelihoods-on-the-edge/