At Distinct, as a division of Chemuniqué, we wanted to create a brand that accurately reflects our unique place within the agricultural sector. I wanted to showcase our creativity, distinctiveness, and expertise in the industry.
During the conceptualisation of our brand, we found inspiration in the traditional Nguni cattle and their distinctive patterns. One pattern in particular caught my attention, I saw this on a poster that detailed named different Nguni patterns: Idabulumhlambi, meaning ‘The beast that cuts through the herd’.
This inspired me to embark on a journey to find the perfect representation of ‘the beast’ that could embody our brand’s vision and values. The result was the iconic Nguni bull, with its distinctive colour pattern, that has since become the face of our brand and a symbol of our commitment to providing innovative and effective digital solutions for the livestock industry.
– Image illustrated by Leigh Voigt and published in The Abundant Herds by Dr Marguerite Poland.Continue
My search led me to various artists and photographers before contacting Ed Schroeder who, after retiring in 2007, has been pursuing his passion for Nguni photography.
On the call, I described what type of imagery I was looking for, how I would like to use it for the brand, and asked if he had anything or would be able to assist in any way. Coincidentally, Ed had just arrived in Johannesburg and asked if it was possible to meet up.
The very next day, I met Ed for breakfast in Greenside, where we chatted further about my idea and browsed through the large number of photographs he had in his portfolio. It turned out Ed’s father, Bert Schroeder, had drawn up a register of the colour patterns of the Nguni cattle with the Zulu names in 1994. His research was used by Dr Marguerite Poland (neé Oosthuizen) in her doctoral dissertation, entitled Uchibidolo: The Abundant Herds (A descriptive study of the Nguni Cattle of the Zulu People). She dedicated her dissertation as well as her book, The Abundant Herds, to Bert Schroeder.
It turns out this is exactly where the poster and illustration I saw, and ‘Idabulumhlambi: The beast that cuts through the herd’ originated – I had unknowingly gone directly to the source.
Our discussion ended with Ed saying: “Ryan … I don’t have the image you are looking for”; however, he was excited by the project and agreed to photograph a bull when we found one that would work for our brand.Continue
The next Monday morning, I received an excited message from Ed saying that he had found my bull! It turns out he had circulated a message on a couple of Nguni group chats trying to find a bull that matched our description and sent me my first picture of Marmalade (who had, unfortunately, been slaughtered just the previous week). He had been bought and sold by three different farmers, but was never able to be registered as an Nguni breeder bull due to the fact that his left testicle was an inch shorter that his right; any of his offspring wouldn’t have been able to be registered either. To my dismay, I realised that this was the only image we would ever have of Marmalade – but we could use it!Continue