STORY OF ORIGIN : Every cowhide sold by The Nguni Guy is sourced in the KwaZulu-Natal Province of South Africa, mostly from right here in the Midlands (where our own origin story began). Glen du Preez, Co-Founder of the business, grew up in the KZN Midlands and comes from a long family tradition of farming with Nguni cattle. All of our cowhides come as a by-product of the beef industry; just as the Zulu people have long used Nguni skins as a source of clothing, mats, shields, rugs, and even battle skins, we make sure that 100% of each animal is used today.
UNMATCHED BEAUTY : The unique, many-colored, and beautifully-patterned hides of the Ngunis have been carefully bred into the Nguni subspecies by the Zulu people (and later the settlers who farmed them) for centuries. In the Zulu culture, the most beautiful skins were used for shields in battle, and were a sign of wealth and power within each tribe. King Shaka of the Zulus, the most well known Zulu King, bred specific colour patterns into his Nguni herds and used them to denote the many regiments of his army, as well as rank. His personal guard was noted by the pure white cowhides they wore from the Nguni royal herd, the 'inyonikayiphumuli’. These elite fighters were honored by the King in wearing pure white, as they are the rarest of hides to find among Ngunis (and were taken from the Royal Herd itself). To this day, all-white hides are especially sought after.
SUPPORTING THE LOCAL ECONOMY : Buying an Nguni Cowhide Rug adds value to locals' cattle, a key component of one of the strongest (and only growing) economic sectors in South Africa. Farms provide jobs, food, and economic stability in a time when few other industries can. Your purchase from The Nguni Guy of a genuine Nguni Cowhide (or other, locally-sourced hide rug) helps to support hundreds of jobs right here in South Africa.
ENVIRONMENTALLY CONSCIOUS : Other than the obvious support for local economies, buying South African cowhides is a nod towards the environmentally and ecologically conscientious. South Africa is a resource rich country, one that has an abundance of natural plains and farmlands that are utilized for Nguni Cattle. Add to that an Nguni's ability to thrive in the thick African thornveld, and you see that the commercial production of these cattle is an environmentally friendly practice.
BETTER THAN THE COMPETITION : The environmentally conscious aspect of Nguni Cowhides is in complete contrast to imported (aka carbon footprint-heavy) cowhides. Many cowhides available on the market come from Equatorial countries that clear vast swaths of forest and other growth in order to make grazing land for their non-native cattle breeds. The worst offender of these deforestation practices also happens to be one of the largest exporters of hides; Brazil is the cardinal sin bearer of ecologically destructive practices. One journalist was told by a farmer there that in his first week of agricultural college he learned how to set fire to an acre of rainforest in order to make way for a growing herd. In 2009, a Greenpeace study showed that one hectre of rainforest was being lost to ranches every 18 seconds. And remarkably, despite international opposition to their deforestation practices, they do more and more of it every single year.