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Cattle breeder Cawood dies

Renowned Zimbabwean and African cattleman, Sam Knott Cawood, of Beitbridge has died.


Cawood, whose age could not be immediately established but believed to have been in his 90s, “passed on peacefully” in Musina, South Africa — his daughter Barbara’s social media status reflected.

A surveyor by profession Cawood was born in South Africa and settled in Beitbridge in 1965.

“He left South Africa in protest at the apartheid policies of the nationalist government and came to what was then Rhodesia and played a consistent role in opposition to the same policies in this country,” wrote MDC-T Bulawayo East MP Eddie Cross.

Among several farming interests south of Rutenga he developed, Cawood was credited with his 1959 surveying of the large Nuanetsi (now Mwenezi) Ranch which is 1% of Zimbabwe.

The farm now belongs to the late vice-president Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo’s Development Trust of Zimbabwe and is being leased by businessman Billy Rautenberg.

“Sam is one of the best cattlemen in southern Africa,” Cross wrote in 2002 after Cawood’s farm was invaded by war veterans.

By merit, as regards community development and relations it was agreed the farm he bought from the Zimbabwean government, be subdivided and shared with settlers.

Cawood was a skilful breeder of cattle who pioneered the white Brahman in Zimbabwe.

He was also credited for many crossbreed experiments.

At the time of his death he is known to have had 6 000 pedigree Brahman and was still active albeit, through instructing.

Local businessman Charles Terry Mulowa described Cawood as a loving “father” whose relationship with the people in the adjacent communal lands was “brilliant and real”.

Cawood had books of researches he did on the Venda community in which he lived and apart from being fluent in the Venda language, was a source of deep Venda culture.

He built classroom blocks in Matshiloni, Beitbridge, assisted in building the Witwatersrand University in South Africa and West Ridge School in the Limpopo province of South Africa.

Cawood educated farmers across the race divide on how to conserve water after choosing to settle in agro-ecological region five of Zimbabwe characterised by long dry spells and poor rainfall.

Cawood was cremated on Tuesday in South Africa and a memorial service is expected to be held at his home tomorrow when his ashes will be broadcast at his farm.

He is survived by two daughters Jean and Barbara and son Brian.

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