The term 'Sanga' is an Ethiopian word meaning 'bull' and it relates to the origin and centre of dispersal of this group of cattle breeds. It is in this part of East and Northeast Africa where sanga cattle first evolved as a result of the interbreeding of the Longhorn-, Shorthorn- and zebu type cattle, commencing about 3000 to 4000 years ago, a process that has continued up to the present time (Payne and Wilson, 1999). The sanga show a mixture of features from the zebu (humps and dewlap) and Humpless cattle (long horns and no humps). Another theory based on archaeological findings (Muzzolini, 2000) maintains that African humped zebu evolved in central Sahara in the first millennium BC, which possibly provided the foundation for crossing with the Humpless Longhorn cattle to produce the sanga in the Sahara, from where it gradually spread with migrating Nilo-Hamitic and Hamitic peoples across central and southern Africa. However, recent molecular genetics evidence (Hanotte et al., 2002) suggests that genetics introgression of the Bos indicus (zebu) spread from the Horn of Africa to the west of the continent and the zebu genes might have dispersed rapidly into the indegenous Africa populations. In any case, the sanga breeds of cattle dominated the cattle population in the region until 1887, when Italian priests imported a shipload of Italian cattle and introduced the cattle plague (Rinderpest). This disease annihilated most of the existing cattle populations, especially the Sanga, and led to the first great Famine in East Africa. After the epidemic, zebu cattle were continually introduced along the coastline and crossbreeding with Sanga remnants resulted in several zebu-Sanga and Sanga-zebu populations (Felius, 1995). The present distribution of the sanga cattle extends from Eritrea, through Ethiopia, southern Sudan and the Great Lakes region of East Africa to southern Africa where they are the traditional cattle in all countries south of the Zambezi. Since the cattle plague, eastern Africa has been dominated by the short-horned zebu. While there are hardly any breed improvement programmes for the sanga of eastern Africa, the majority in southern Africa have well-organised programmes and most have breed societies. Selective breeding of the Mashona, Tuli, and Africander resulted in local cattle more productive in beef productivity than exotic beef breeds. They have also provided the basis for the Commercial Composite breeds of South Africa, namely Drakensberger and Bonsmara (Payne and Wilson, 1999).
Breed Origin :
The original sanga stock evolved in Ethiopia, and the Nilotic Sanga appear to have developed from early migrations and spread across south-western Ethiopia into southern Sudan. This breed in the Sudan has retained the large body size, long horns and small humps of the true sanga.
Up Nile, Equatoria and Bahr el Gazal, southern Sudan provinces. Maintained by the south-eastern Dinka (the Aliab Dinka) in southern Sudan.
Retained the original large body, long horns and small cervico-thoracic hump; coat colour is generally white, grey or light fawn; the large body size may be attributed to the suitable grazing area of the Aliab.