Not quite literally but it appears I was destined to be vegan. Being born in Rhodesia, now Zimbabwe, there was no escaping eating meat. The Ndebele, in the South West where I was born near Bulawayo city, who are the descendants of Chaka the great Zulu warrior valued and owned cattle. In the central and eastern territories the Shona also used cattle as a sign of wealth. It appears everyone ate meat. However, if a family was not well-off meat was rarely eaten in the home and this was quite common in Zambia, Malawi and Mozambique. People would resort to eating vegetables more often than meat. These were vegetarians by default. I hasten (some word, LOL) to say, but not in the strictest sense because given the opportunity these families would eat meat.
LOL I am trying not to get trapped into some kind of history lesson here. All I want is to tell my own journey, yes journey, through time and space (please be patient haha).
Not a Chicken Chaser
In my pre-teens, when I was 11 going on 15, I suddenly told my mother I would not be her chicken butcher. No, I wasn’t even going to be her chicken chaser. Well, if the chickens are free range chickens, they roam wherever their hungry beaks take them. So, if your good mother wanted to prepare a chicken dish for a visitor and you were Mom’s favorite chicken catcher you would have to chase it before you caught it, wouldn’t you?
I knew even that early that chicken knew when you were on a death mission. Something in the way I crept up to the one chosen chicken, something in the eyes, or the smell of malicious intent betrayed me. I could never successfully creep up to a chick and grab it. Those least wise birds sensed evil intent and nimbly side stepped before tearing into full flight issuing a terrible sound. They soon learnt they could actually fly and the chase started. I chased the poor chickens until they were too tired to run, (LOL, I tell the story of how I became a cross country runner elsewhere). Suddenly, I decided I would never ever do that again. Nunca mas!
But that is where the boast ends because I still ate meat until later in my life when in the age of resolutions, I resolved that I would not eat meat on Tuesday and Saturday. It felt great. I hadn’t accomplished a great feat (that’s how to say that right? LOL). I just wanted to abstain, there that is the word, abstain from eating meat on Tuesdays and Saturdays.
Not such a great way to simplify my life but I felt good about it until- well let me dramatize this. I would sit at table and start eating and as I greedily, no happily, not greedily chewed a mouthful of juicy meat, I remembered it was Tuesday. I was not supposed to be eating meat. O sweet mother of Jesus! What was the matter with me that I could not remember it was Tuesday before I started eating? Or it would be Saturday and oh, I did it again… and again…
Until one day I said no more meat! Never again, Nunca mas! And there! November 1986 I officially became a vegetarian, ovo-lactogenarian, yeah, I like the bigger word. It was alright, you could eat eat fish in my face or eat meat while I looked as long as you laid your hand off my blue (blue) cheese. I would not become a vegan until 5 years later in 1991 but that’s another story…
Thanks for reading my very first post.The next part of my vegan journey will be up soon, but you can subscribe for updates HERE. Does my story strike a chord with you? What has your experience with a “veggie lifestyle” been like? Let me know, in the comments.
Written by Kasiya Phiri