40+FAB Blog

Don’t call my chickens liars

I grew up in the city of Lagos, Nigeria, and I remember the land my Dad bought to build his house was on the edge of a massive swampy forest. It was like living on the edge of a natural wildlife park. There were all manner of birds that flocked in the tree’s, the stream below teemed with little fishes that we would catch and keep in our aquarium. To cap it up, we even had monkeys that wandered into the yard at least once every week.

Out of all the creatures that inhabited that ecosystem, I will never forget my encounter with a 10 foot python. You see, we had been keeping chickens and grown the numbers to about 100 when we noticed chickens going missing over a period of weeks. Because the chickens were free range, we thought it could be a combination of them being stolen or eaten by stray dogs. However, we noticed that at least twice a week the chickens would go berserk in their pens once it got dark. This went on for a while until it became really irritating and so one evening my siblings and I lit a lantern and went to check what could be causing the racket.

As we flung the door open, a chicken dropped on the floor and we saw that it was dead, we looked up and there, on the top rail was this massive snake ready to pounce on another chicken. In alarm we threw what we had in our hands at it and it slithered into the darkness and out of the pen.
Over the next few nights, we became very vigilant to the faintest cries of the chickens. On a number of occasions we went in the pen to check why they were unsettled but we never saw that beast again.

If my neighbours had complained and said my chickens were creating a racket for no reason, I would have defended them. You don’t know what they have seen and what they have been through, so if they get jittery at shadows, please do not call them liars.

For about 400 years, one race has oppressed others and the racism still continues overtly and covertly, yet as soon as someone from the Afro community cries out to say I have been mistreated and will not take this anymore, people are quick to say, slavery is over, get a grip of yourself, stop the cancel culture, it doesn’t happen anymore, stop playing the race card, we have improved, we have done you a favour to let you in here, I don’t believe you, you are a liar.

Whether they are crying wolf or not, the wolves did rove for centuries and ravaged us even as recently as George Floyd. Whether they cackle in the night to the shadows, the python once came by and stole thier brethren and the memories are not that easy to erase. So please forgive my chickens for unsettling you in the night, and be understanding of what they have been through and don’t be too quick to call them liars.