Tales of the Tswana Chicken

Once upon a time, not so long ago, the Tswana Chicken reigned supreme. Every lapa, masimo, moraka – and even the homes of dikgosi boasted a brood of chickens – and they were truly valued members of the family.
The Tswana chicken was held in such high esteem that when visitors came, it was the Tswana chicken which was called upon to make the supreme sacrifice. At the time the Tswana Chicken was such a valuable and cherished member of the household that no one stole chickens. This must be true because have you ever heard of anyone being punished for stock theft of chickens.
Rich people kept Tswana chickens; poor people kept Tswana chickens; members of royal families kept Tswana chicken.  The Tswana chicken was revered because of its independence and it ran free; feeding itself, keeping the yard clean of insects and bugs. The Tswana chicken could multi-task, providing eggs, meats of different kinds and colour; there were parts of the Tswana chicken prized delicacies – the feet, the gizzard and the heart, liver and kidneys.
Indeed, the Tswana Chickens were very hardworking, waking early in the morning to ensure that we all got to school and work on time.
Independent, productive, hard-working, resilient and loyal. This is how we used to remember our Tswana Chicken which kept us alive during both floods and drought and was prepared, and willing, to make the ultimate sacrifice. Compare the noble chicken, against the fickle goat who always ran away, or the ox which trampled on our fields, destroying our crops. Indeed, the Tswana Chicken was an essential member of every household, throughout the land, among rich and poor alike.
Gradually however, a whispering campaign began against the Tswana Chicken. Years before the existence of social media trolls, murmurs began to circulate that the Tswana Chicken, far from being diligent, innovative and hard-working, was in fact stubborn, lazy and un-productive. Characteristics of loyalty and equality were gradually morphed into an unflattering perception that the Tswana Chicken was useless and no longer tasty or desirable.
Indeed, the whispering campaign against the Tswana Chicken took hold so fast that young women (and old ones), who had spent an unsatisfactory night began to call their partners “Tswana Chickens.”
At the back of this campaign to bad mouth our cultural icon, were the notorious FDI affiliate, known as the Broilers. No opportunity was lost to pour scorn on our revered Tswana Chicken which soon became synonymous with low productivity, unskilled, stubborn and undesirable.
The Broilers quickly invaded Botswana, chasing away the Tswana Chicken armed with the FDI playbook (Frustrate Domestic Initiative). The Broilers live in huge collectives – owned by a few wealthy FDI affiliates. They cannot survive in our natural environment and need special homes to be built and provided with designer scientifically formulated food, also provided by the FDI henchmen.
No longer are visitors greeted by a Tswana chicken which makes the ultimate sacrifice. Now, visitors leave unsatisfied, without the ritual chicken, because the scientifically stuffed, genetically modified, chlorine washed apology for a chicken, the infamous Broiler, which lives in a freezer, takes too long to be prepared. How, if you want to visit you have to call ahead, so that the Broiler has time to de-frost. This is changing fundamental rules of hospitality embedded in our culture of the Tswana Chicken which had the same place in our rituals as tea, in the Japanese tea ceremony.
However, there are signs of rebellion against the invasion on the alien FDI affiliated species – the Broiler which threatens of very way of life.
Behind closed doors, more and more people are whispering “Tswana Chickens Lives Matter”. From behind raised hands can be heard “Oh, I wish I had a tasty Tswana Chicken.” Or “Mmm eggs from Tswana Chickens are so tasty.”
Hidden deals are taking place under the very noses of those who DISSed the Tswana Chicken. Even in Phakalane, a flourishing smuggling industry is emerging with Tswana Chickens sneaking in through the back door in Glen Valley.
It is said that a Tswana Chicken has even been heard telling children to get ready for school again.
The age of renaissance for the Tswana Chicken is approaching. In the high class Chesanyama in Yeoville, Berea, Rocky Road and Hillbrow, as Sophiatown those in the know call out the “Tswana Chicken Lives”. They don’t call out for the Zimbabwe, Zulu, Pedi, or even the Xhosa Chicken.
The Tswana Chicken lives on. And young men are now proud to be called Tswana Chickens.
© tbc 2017