In Northern Sotho, a separate colour lexicon is distinguished, containing terms which are believed to be used
exclusively as colour terms to describe not only the colours, but also the colour patterning found among domestic
animals, particularly cattle. According to current literature, the use of these terms is restricted to the description of
cattle and/or other domestic animals. This study, which is corpus-based, investigates the metaphorical extension of
these terms which widens their descriptive scope to include objects other than cattle. It is furthermore argued that
these terms have unique grammatical features, found nowhere else in the grammatical system of Northern Sotho.
Lastly, the metaphoric link between these colour and colour-pattern terms and similar sounding words designating
other animals, birds or everyday objects is investigated. It is concluded that this particular colour lexicon is of an
ambivalent nature: on the one hand it is an indigenous knowledge system which is clearly in decline, mostly due
to non-linguistic factors, but simultaneously, its ability to be extended to the description of other objects points
towards a certain measure of vitality.