Sinenhlanhla Ngubane was well on her way to being a chicken farmer when the unimaginable happened. Over 170 of her chickens were mercilessly slaughtered. It was such a horrible experience for her that she considered abandoning her dream of being a farmer.
Until today, the South African farmer based in the KwaZulu-Natal province, has been perplexed as to who slaughtered her chicks and why. Despite the incident happening in October 2021, Ngubane is still baffled as to why someone would allegedly slash her hens to death with a panga.
“We woke up in the morning and I saw my chickens [were] dead,” she told Food For Mzansi. “I was stressed and confused, and I didn’t know what to do and I felt like giving up. I had 190 chickens and they killed 174 and stole six. They only left 10.”
Ngubane resorted to social media after the tragedy to upload photographs of the dead hens. The post went viral, much to her surprise, and she received unexpected support from all parts of Mzansi.
Learning from the best
Ngubane added that she was raised by her grandparents, who were passionate about farming. They bred hens at home as well.
“My mother and grandparents were there, so I don’t remember struggling since I was born. They were always there to support me. I’m not saying they were rich, but they worked hard to get me where I am today. I didn’t grow up getting everything I wanted, but I had everything I needed as their love was sufficient for me.”
Ngubane is a fourth-year social work student at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, in addition to farming. After taking over from her grandparents who were subsistence farmers, she formally began farming in 2017.
Despite the fact that she learned a lot from them, Siyanda Nxumalo, her mentor, had the most impact on her life and farming career.
Today, Ngubane supplies local shisanyamas, restaurants and individuals in and around the community of eManguzi with her chickens branded as “Sne Chickens”. This is a huge achievement and one that would not be possible if she was taking shortcuts or looking for quick money, she said.
She explains that farming is a lengthy process. There are numerous obstacles as well, the most significant of which being the lack of space. If she had additional land, she could raise more hens, which would surely lead to the expansion of her business. This chicken farmer might also consider farming with goats, animals and vegetables, she says.
“It was not easy but because I knew where I wanted to be in life, I did manage to grow my business even though I’m not where I want to be. So far, I have achieved some of my goals. I’m proud of myself since I have achieved many things at my age, and this proves that I am young and capable.”