Zulu Sheep

a branch of the Nguni Sheep known as Imvu in isiZulu (pl. izimvu)

These domesticated animals are endangered. The Zulu sheep travelled between 200 and 400 AD with the Nguni people, their cattle and dogs from North and Central Africa to eastern coast of South Africa. Like most landrace breeds of livestock and crops they have been overlooked and displaced by corporate agricultural. The Zulu Sheep present opportunities to produce without the intensive veterinary inputs that most other sheep breeds need and have the added advantage that they have co-evolved locally.

At Enaleni, we have managed with difficulty to source a small breeding flock of sheep from within KwaZulu-Natal with 8 bloodlines. The sheep are an integral part of the agroecological farming systems at Enaleni. The sheep are multi-coloured, usually have fat tails, have hair rather than wool and sometimes have "mouse like" ears. They are remarkable in that they have a high tolerance to tick-borne diseases and parasites. They have co-evolved within a hot, pest-ridden landscape with inconsistent weather patterns and temperatures, and in some coastal areas with high humidity. In 2009 Enaleni together with Slow Food have formed the first presidium in South Africa, the Zulu Sheep Presidium.

Our purpose of collecting and breeding these sheep at Enaleni is to safe guard their genetic diversity and resilience, establish a viable market given their unique flavour and traits through conservation with production.