Professor Sue Kidson, Department of Human Biology, University of Cape Town

Equus is a genus of animals in the family Equidae, which includes horses, donkeys and zebras. This course will discuss how the relationship between mankind and Equus shaped the path of history on the African continent. The three-lecture course will look at the biology of the equids, and also the history, culture and landscapes of Africa we seldom hear about. The course will begin with the origins of equids on distant shores at the dawn of prehistory and their migration into Africa. It will uncover their role in the history of north Africa, the great empires of west Africa and in modern and historical southern Africa.



1.  Ancestral journeys: origins, genes and evolution

2. Adaptation: shapes, sizes and colours

3. Power and partnerships: the shaping of civilisations


Recommended reading

Bankoff, G. and Swart, S. 2008. Breeds of Empire: The “invention” of the horse in southeast Asia and Southern Africa, 1500–1950. Copenhagen: Nias Press.

Chamberlain, E. 2006. Horse: How the horse has shaped civilizations. Bluebridge.

Williams, W. The Horse: the epic history of our noble companion, Scientific American. Farrar Straus and Giroux.


Date: Monday 22–Wednesday 24 January 
Time: 7.30 pm
COURSE  FEES  Full: R310,00  Staff: R155,00  Reduced: R80,00