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Red Twin on killing a chicken

There’s no postcolonialism post today because Arthur was in Dar teaching for a week. He’ll write more on that experience in the weeks to come. Meanwhile, here’s what Red Twin and I got up to while he was away, in Red Twin’s words.

We’d known for about 48 hours that the newly acquired rooster was sick, and had been advised to kill it so it didn’t infect the others. Being total city slickers, we googled “how to slaughter a chicken” and felt well equipped to do so in a humane manner. Tamie had become quite an accomplished chicken catcher in the few days prior, so we seized the rooster and laid it out on what shall henceforth be known as The Stone Table (some sewage, drain thingy). As instructed by The Internet, I held a broom handle over its neck and pressed down firmly, and then Tamie pulled on its legs. Note to the uninitiated: it would have been wise to hold its body too. The chicken flapped its wings, scratched me and escaped. Failure.

Tamie caught the rooster again, and we went for round 2. This time, we went hardcore. As I held the chicken down on The Stone Table, I heard Tamie sharpening a kitchen knife, to enact what we hoped would be a humane slaughter. As I held the body and legs, Tamie attempted to slit its throat, which resulted in a fancy haircut around the neck, as its blood continued to pump quite healthily around its body. At this point, I was bleeding more than the chicken. Slitting quickly turned to stabbing, which turned to hacking. Blood began to pool on The Stone Table, and just when we thought the job was accomplished, the chicken squawked, and we resumed sawing at its throat. We knew we had finally accomplished our task when Tamie was holding the head and I was holding the body.

We took the corpse to the final resting place: the rubbish heap, and went on to our next task: convincing the mother hen that we were trying to help her when we trapped her baby chick. But that is another story.

As we look back on the experience, we’re not quite sure how to feel about ourselves. Are we empowered women who slaughtered our own chicken? Or are we useless women who botched the job?

Red Twin has been with us for almost a month and leaves on Monday.


Categories: Tanzania Woman Written by Tamie

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Tamie Davis

Tamie Davis is an Aussie living in Tanzania, writing at

1 reply

  1. Another thing to add to the list of “what they need to teach at SAH” (or in this case – start teaching again).

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