The street level of Ousmane Ndiaye’s building features a fabric shop. He and his family live in a posh apartment on the second floor. Their upstairs neighbours? His beloved ram Billal and 10 other sheep.
Here his animals prance on a sunny outdoor terrace well above the commotion of buses and vendors below, and only rarely use the building’s winding staircase.
Billal is fed the family’s dinner leftovers, and Ndiaye jokes that his wife is jealous of his sheep. The family even foregoes potential rental income by leaving the upper level of their building unfinished.
“I could rent this place out for 250,000 francs (US$500) a month, but I prefer to keep Billal and my sheep here,” says Ndiaye, 60, sporting a royal blue boubou as he strokes the head of the sheep he hopes will become a reality television star.
In a nation where sheep are given names and kept inside homes as companion animals, the most popular television show is “Khar Bii,” or literally, “This Sheep,” in the local Wolof language. . .