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Black Wildebeest (Connochaetes gnou) by Maree  Clarkson

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Black Wildebeest (Connochaetes gnou) by 

W&N watercolour on Bockingford 300gsm

Often, when travelling on the Sterkfontein road on our way to Lanseria Airport (Tarlton, Gauteng, South Africa), these Black Wildebeest cross the road, bringing all the traffic to a halt and resulting in everybody hauling out their cameras and binoculars. I always leave early for the airport, never know what you might spot on the road!

Swartwildebees [Afrikaans]

Black Wildebeest, also known as the White Tailed GNU, are endemic to South Africa, found almost exclusively in the Highveld areas of the country in South Africa. It is a very strange and comical looking specie with its black body, erect mane, long whitish tail, forward curving horns and facial crest. They were on the verge of extinction in the 1960’s, but are plentiful today as a result of careful conservation management. They are often found in herds of females and young males, with the older males either being solitary or forming small bachelor herds.

Done from a photograph I found on the website of

G stands for Gnu, whose weapon of defence
Are long, sharp, curling horns, and common sense.
To these he adds a name so short and strong,
That even hardy Boers pronounce it wrong.
How often on a bright autumnal day
The pious people of Pretoria say,
‘Come, let us hunt the______’ Then no more is heard
but sounds of strong men struggling with a word;
Meanwhile the distant Gnu with grateful eyes
Observes his opportunity and flies.


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  1. 22nd July 2011 – FEATURED in Image Writing
  2. 24th July 2011 – FEATURED in The Group
  3. 20th August 2011 – FEATURED in Art at its Best
  4. 16th October 2011 – Placed in the TOP 10 of the challenge WILDSBOKKE VAN SUIDER AFRIKA / THE ANTELOPES OF SOUTHERN AFRICA in ‘Afrikaans is my Moedertaal/Afrikaans is my Mother tongue’ – 3rd Place tie
  5. 25th February 2012 – FEATURED in Animals of Africa
  6. 7th February 2014 – FEATURED in Love these Creatures
  7. 8th February 2014 – FEATURED in A Place to Start
  8. 9th March 2014 – FEATURED in Local Critters
  9. 31st May 2014 – FEATURED in Wild Africa

I am a watercolorist living on my little piece of African soil in Tarlton, Gauteng, South Africa. The inspiration for my art is the wonderfully rich variety of Fauna and Flora to be found throughout this beautiful country.
“There is a fine line between dreams and reality; it’s up to you to draw it.”

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  • Jim Phillips
    Jim Phillips11 months ago

    This is my first real look Maree, Walt Disney has been my only other resource.

  • And Walt Disney portrays them so beautifully Jim! If you search ‘recent gnu’, or ‘recent gnou’ or ‘recent black wildebeest’ here on RB, you’ll get quite a few images.

    – Maree Clarkson

  • Elizabeth Kendall
    Elizabeth Kendall11 months ago

    Hoe gelukkg is jy om hulle so naby jou te kan sien Maree! Lovely painting!

  • Dankie Liz, ek’s dankbaar dat ek hulle gereeld kan sien!

    – Maree Clarkson

  • Macky
    Macky11 months ago

    Superb work dear Maree, again, you’ve ‘’captured’ the spirit of the WB!!

  • Ah, thanks ever so much Macky! Also appreciate the fav!

    – Maree Clarkson

  • myraj
    myraj11 months ago

    Wonderful work Maree.
    x Myra

  • Thank you Myra, also for the fav! x

    – Maree Clarkson

  • Marsha Elliott
    Marsha Elliott11 months ago

    Great painting!

  • Thank you Marsha, appreciate the fav!

    – Maree Clarkson

  • artwhiz47
    artwhiz4711 months ago

    A beauty, Maree!! Such an intriguing beast….

  • That they are Sheila! Thanks for the fave, appreciate that!

    – Maree Clarkson

  • Marriet
    Marriet11 months ago
    Looks like a cross between a horse and a waterbuffalo! Fun portrait, Maree!
  • They are the ugliest beautiful animals Marriet!

    – Maree Clarkson

  • hootonles
    hootonles11 months ago

    I do like your work Maree :O)

  • Thanks ever so much for saying so Hoot!

    – Maree Clarkson

  • TeresaB
    TeresaB11 months ago

    February 7, 2014

    Beautiful work!

  • Thank you for the feature Teresa!

    – Maree Clarkson

  • PineSinger
    PineSinger11 months ago

    As a kid I had a tail of one of these which was given me by one of the tribe’s men when I was in Africa! Great painting!

  • Thank you Pamela, appreciate the fav!

    – Maree Clarkson

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