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Sunday Times STLive By WERNER SWART, 2011-02-12

Kate may be getting cows from kulula.com

Kate Middleton may have known her nuptials to Britain's Prince William would see gifts pouring in - but probably didn't expect a herd of cows.

In keeping with local custom, South Africa's cheeky, no-frills airline, kulula, is offering the royal pair the cows as lobola.

Middleton, 29, is to wed her prince on April 29 at Westminster Abbey and kulula.com, which never misses a beat when it comes to ambush marketing, is hoping for acknowledgement.

But there's a catch: the airline is taking its campaign to Facebook where fans will determine how many cows she's worth.

"Wills has been a big fan of South Africa and we're big fans of him and his bride-to-be," said kulula marketing manager Nadine Damen. "With all there is to arrange he probably hasn't considered fully the benefits of the lobola tradition. We're more than happy, alongside our kulula fans, to be sending him the finest cows we can get our hands on in order to make their happy day even more special."

The company will run a special from tomorrow - a portion of every flight booked until the day before the wedding would go towards the royal cows.

A separate deal involves a scheme to lure the couple to SA for their honeymoon.

Those who worry about the cows' well-being needn't fret - kulula will source the cows in the UK to avoid traumatising them with a sea voyage.

Whether the royal couple will accept the offer, however, is another story. The Times of London reported this week that the couple had resisted the lure of a wedding registry, although it has not stopped gifts arriving at St James's Palace. Some were accepted but others, from expensive handbags to designer dresses, have been returned with a polite note of thanks.

'They are being offered as generous tokens of goodwill," said a royal source.

"But the couple have a policy of not accepting gifts from commercial organisations for the wedding."

Last year kulula caused a stir with a sneaky campaign designed to cash in on the 2010 Soccer World Cup, despite it not being an official sponsor.

In print and radio advertisements kulula proclaimed itself to be the "unofficial national carrier of the 'You-know-what', framed with soccer balls, vuvuzelas and the SA flag.

It dropped the advert after Fifa accused it of ambush marketing.