A Study of Nguni Cattle

Since the 11th march 2007 I have developed a fascination for Nguni Cattle. On that particular day I visited the farm, Rooipoort of our friends Carl and Rentia Malcomess. There I photographed their herd of Nguni cattle with the plan to paint a composition of the herd in the landscape of their farm. I started with a rough sketch here.


Then I composed and painted the final watercolour for them.


Since then I discovered that there was another herd of Ngunis, so with the help of the farmer, Hannes Haasbroek, I acquired a substantial photo library for future Nguni paintings. However as 2008 turned out to be an year of no painting, the idea only returned on our trip to the Baviaanskloof in May. Passing a farm at Mondplaas, near Jeffrey’s Bay, I saw a wonderful small herd of Nguni. This was the spark of inspiration that got me going again.ngunis,3-horns2 Ngunis


Several watercolour sketches followed from various sources, and finally the Big Oil painting of the Mondplaas Ngunis!  It is a massive 1650 x 870 mm in size and has taken a full 2 weeks to complete.

Ngunis in oil, finished at last! ( I think,... is a painting ever finished ? )
Ngunis in oil, finished at last! ( I think,… is a painting ever finished ? )
John & Nula show the scale of this painting.
John & Nula show the scale of this painting.

During the long hours of painting I listened to many inspiring sermons  from some of my favourites like:  John PiperSinclair Ferguson , Wayne GrudemC.J.Mahaney , Don Carson , Sam Storms , Lex Loizides , Jackie Pullinger and the blog articles and interviews of  Adrian Warnock

Through them all, God keeps me focused on Him, and the Holy Spirit enables me to interpret what I see into the paintings we undertake together. I marvel at the joy He must feel in the creation of these amazingly colourful and unique cattle. I am also assured that Our Lord takes pleasure in our everyday work, no matter how mundane it is. As we dedicate all that we do to Him, He will be glorified. I hope that you too have found fulfilment in walking with Jesus. May He bless you abundantly today!!

” For everything comes from Him ; everything exists by His power and is intended for His glory.
To Him be glory evermore. Amen.” -Romans 11v36

Photo of the Nguni oil taken outside to convey the true colours.
Photo of the Nguni oil taken outside to convey the true colours. (sold.)




16 responses to “A Study of Nguni Cattle”

  1. John Oliver Avatar

    Love them Mom! The oil is huge. Now I want to paint.

  2. Barbara Avatar

    Thanks John, Can’t wait for you to get back to painting !!!

  3. Margaret Boles Avatar
    Margaret Boles

    I just love the way you have captured these cattle in such wonderful landscape. You seem to have emphasised the variety within the Nguni (Are they a native African breed?, indigenous to Southern Africa?). They seem to have huge horns!

  4. Erna Wade Avatar

    I really like the big Nguni painting in the huge landscape. You’ve captured it beautifully! I love the guinea fowl at the top – is that also your painting? God bless…

    1. Barbara Avatar

      Thanks Erna, Yes, the Guineas at the top is one of my paintings from 2008

  5. Jaap van Rensburg Avatar
    Jaap van Rensburg

    Waar kan ek kontakbesonderhede kry

  6. Kevin and Liesel Avatar
    Kevin and Liesel

    Did we indicate that the picture is now up and looking absolutely gorgeous!!!

  7. Sue Avatar

    Awesome!! My daughter, now living in the UK, is a total Nguni freak – and we would love to give her something to remind her of home – we live in Matatiele. Would we be able to purchase “prints” from you?
    Regards, Sue

    1. Charles Simpson Avatar
      Charles Simpson

      Hi, Really magnificent!
      I am doing a small charity leaflet and would like to use 1 of your pictures on the front – size will be about 160 mm by 80 mm. Maybe about 30 copies.

      I will of course acknowledge the origin, are there any other formalities?

      Regards Charles

  8. Dereck Stone Avatar

    Hi John. I am a semi-retired Baptist pastor (still very involved!). 40 years ago I was in the advertising industry – I am an artist. When I can I paint in acrylics and have really fallen for Nguni cattle. They are great. Lets keep in touch.

    1. Barbara Avatar

      Thanks for the visit, Dereck. You can see my son, John’s work at http://www.johnphilip.co.za/
      I am glad you enjoy painting Ngunis, and I wish you luck with that. I visited your blog ‘Life after Sunday’ and enjoyed reading some of your posts. My uncle is also a retired Baptist pastor, Rev. Tony Fitt, and lives in Cape Town. (He is my Mum’s brother)
      God bless !!

  9. Charis Beukes Avatar
    Charis Beukes

    Dear Barbara, I have just had tea with your sister Jenny at Fred Shone’s home. I am the resident nurse in Cheshire Village (retirement village) where Fred lives. I loved your paintings from the calender Jenny had with her. We really have a beautiful country & are blessed with talented people like you. I grew up on a dairy farm in Easter Cape, so yes most of the scenes remind me of the farm! Take care and dont stop painting! All the best, Charis.

    1. Barbara Avatar

      Thanks for your comment, and visiting the website, Charis! Yes there is a lot of inspiration around us, that’s for sure :) God Bless you.

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