Wow! I never expected this much of a response for Episode 2! Welcome to all our new readers! Oh, and a special thank you to all those who gave me ‘intel’ for this week’s episode. People like you make it easy for me to write about the experiences of a mixed sex school, even though I didn’t spend a day in any of them. We have three different milestones to celebrate with this post- 100 blog followers, our 30th blog post today and clocking 50,000 views last week!! I dedicate each one of these little victories to my favourite person in the whole wide world! You make my heart sing! 🙂
And now on to the story! Happy reading!
‘…and the permanent seniors on duty for this term are Delali Kumapley and Afrakuma Gyan. That would be all for this week. Remember to pursue excellence in whatever you do this week. Please rise for the school anthem.’ Jessica Poku, the girls’ prefect, stood straight, almost as though her spine had ironed with a steam iron and spray starch. She was a no nonsense girl and she had earned a reputation of going by the book. The students feared her; those who didn’t, respected her. She didn’t have to raise her voice. Just one look would get you to do what was right. If you looked up prim and proper in the dictionary, you would probably find a picture of Jessica there.
The anthem was preceded by the sound of 1,364 pairs of feet scuffling.
Capital High, a land where dreams are nurtured; Capital High, a land where hope is watered; We will strive for excellence to make Ghana our motherland proud.
Of course, there was a remix.
Capital High, a land where the boys find side chicks; Capital High, a land where the girls rosh their class boys; We will strive to break bounds and make Gagert our mother dearest cry.
The Forms 2 and 3 boys sang it under their breath. It was shocking that Gagert’s ears had not caught it yet. Perhaps she had heard it and was probably just bidding her time. With Gagert, you could never tell.
Adriana caught Curtis’ eye for the fourth time that morning and smiled. Curtis smiled back and looked away. They had been at this for a week or so. They never spoke- not even in class or when they passed by each other in the dining hall, but Adriana knew it was bound to happen- it was only a matter of time.
When they were dismissed, you could hear murmurs from the Form 2s.
‘Delali bi Permanent Senior on Duty? Boys die finish! That guy bi wicked. Ei, plus Afrakuma too! Charle! Matter oo!’
‘This means we must run everywhere- dining hall, bathhouse, class, entertainment sef! Delali dey worry!’
Another thing was also creating quite the buzz- Ninos’ Night. There were six houses- Liberation, Rawlings, Cleaver, Nkrumah, Unity and Patriots. Whoever named the houses was obviously obsessed with the history of Ghana. Each house was noted for one thing or another; Liberation for dance hall champions, noise makers and trouble causers- they indeed wanted to be liberated, Rawlings and Nkrumah for discipline probably because the girls’ and boys’ prefects lived there. Collectively, they were the seat of government. Cleaver House had all the dadaba girls. Patriots had won the best sportsmen award every year for the last 6 years. The Unity girls were the bad girls- every scandal you could think of usually had a Unity girl involved.
Despite the fact that each house had its forte, Ninos’ Night was a source of rivalry for them. Whichever house put up the best performance got bragging rights for the entire year. It was either Ninos’ Night or the Capital High Inter house sports competition that separated the wheat from the chaff. Each house had been preparing for the performances and teaching the ninos the songs for the procession.
Some Chrife boys and girls had sent a petition to Gagert to ask for permission to be excluded from the Ninos’ Night because some of the songs were unchristian and the whole process seemed almost demonic. Gagert took one look at the letter and smiled. ‘I get this letter every year and I always ask the same question- should i then exclude you from every unchristian activity throughout your stay here? The answer is always no. Ninos’ night is a great way to welcome you to the school. Take the good and leave the bad. You can apply that lesson to your life as well.’
That night, after dinner, the Form 1s went to their dorms to get dressed for the Nino Procession. Every night, they processed from the gate of the school to the entertainment hall, singing and chanting all sorts of silly things. They had used their school cloth to dress up- Garden of Eden style. The scrawny boys covered their chests and those who had been working out flaunted their 4-packs and 6-packs. They made crowns from twigs and leaves. The girls employed their fashion designer skills to look as seductive and yet school-appropriate as possible. Their school mothers pulled out makeup sets and painted their faces with wild colours like green, purple and pink. Powder and Pepsodent were not left out of the equation. Neither were sponges, pails, Cornflakes boxes, buckets and empty chop boxes. The comedians among them went berserk.
At 7pm, they started the procession. Those in front held kerosine lanterns and wooden torches. Somebody appointed herself choirmistress and gave the tune.
Empty sardine tins, yes we are! Empty Milo sachets too! We are Ninos, yes we are! Give way, give way to us!
Yefri JSS, the capital town of Primary. Y3ba Capital High, y3b3 som Form 3 fo)!Y3betwe oo, na y’ad) oo, y3ba Capital High, y3b3 som Form 3 fo)!*
Senior Monkey come for banana, come for banana!
We are Gagert’s prisoners for 3 years, her slaves for 9 terms.
By the time they got to the entertainment hall, the room was filled to the brim.
Kwamena’s performance for Liberty was first on the bill. He had been reluctant to dance, preferring to stay out of the limelight. His house prefects had promised to exclude him from housework if he could win this, and that was the only reason why he was here. He got on stage and bowed his head. The spotlights blinded him and he was grateful for that. That way, he could dance without worrying about the audience. Yes, he could hear them but at least he could not see him. He closed his eyes, listened to the starting notes, took a deep breath and began to dance. His performance was a walk through music and dance-from Ben King’s Stand by me through Destiny’s Child’s Say my name to Black Eyed Peas’ Gotta Feeling to Pharell’s Happy. The girls screamed because of the songs and the cute guy, the guys yelled because of his dance moves.
‘Omg! Check that guy out! I hear he is a good basketball player too!’
‘It’s official. He is my crush for 2014.’
‘I know him. He is from my JSS.Our school die3, dance hall champions nkoaa oo!’, Collins quipped.
Yoofi looked at him, shook his head and retorted, ‘Why are you always looking for a claim to fame? That guy was my junior and you were not in my school. You for shun that life. I don’t even know why you are still my friend.’
Kwamena froze and did a moon walk to complete his dance. The girls went wild. Even though he was wearing a mask, his classmates recognized him and started to chant his name.
‘K Beck! K Beck! K Beck! K Beck! K Beck!’
As an afterthought, he threw his hat into the audience just before he went off stage. The girls struggled among themselves to catch it. Even Afrakuma made a dive for the hat. All the other houses put up performances. The Unity girls did a twerking performance that would have put both Shakira and Miley Cyrus to shame. The boys roared their approval. The Patriots did a Ghana meets Naija collaboration- all the dances- from Azonto to Agbadza in slow mo to Alkayida and finally Shoki. For a sports house, they surprised everyone. When the night’s performances were over, the Entertainment Prefect, Francisca, announced the winners.
‘Best performance was a difficult one. It goes tooooo Liberation House!’
The crowd went wild!
‘The surprise of the night goes to Patriots House. Silence, please! I will now announce the results from the voting, for Mr and Miss Nino 2014. Curtis Addae-Mensah and Adriana Koomson!!
They both walked up to the stage and were given sashes and crowns. The crowd screamed.
Curtis finally looked at Adriana and said, ‘Hi!’ She smiled, revealing her dimples and said, ‘Finally!’
‘The election was rigged. I don’t even know this Adriana girl.’
Denise turned to the girl who had said that and said, ‘Jealousy doesn’t look good on you, you know? The girl won fair and square. Stop hating. It is just because you are not half as pretty as she is.’ She smirked and turned back to cheer her friend.
The next day, everyone was talking about the night before.
‘Did you see that chrife boy? He was dancing to Beyonce’s song. Is that one in the Bible?’
‘Maybe it is in Songs of Songs!’
‘Herh, that quiet girl in Unity!! The one in the Science class, the one who is always wearing the thick glasses. Did you see her do the Mapouka dance? Hips don’t lie ankasa!’
‘Mr and Miss Nino die3, power couple oo!’
‘Awww, and Kwamena Welbeck! If he sits anywhere near me during church service or assembly, I would’t hear a word! That guy is fine!’
‘He is not very friendly though.’
‘Reserved is the word. Please leave my boo alone!’
Kwamena was walking to his classroom when he saw a group of girls huddled around the notice board. He drew near when he saw that Akpene was cowering in the corner like a mouse about to be eaten by a lion.
‘How did a girl like you get into our school? Your uncle knows the headmistress eh?’
‘She can’t be a protocol girl, not with her hand me down clothes. With clothes like this, I am surprised the dogs haven’t chased her out of here already.’
Akpene’s eyes met Kwamena’s. He could see that she was used to fighting for herself, but was probably suppressing it to stay out of trouble.
‘Leave her alone.’
The girls looked up in awe and confusion- Kwamena, THE dance hall champ was speaking to them and yes, he was asking them to leave a CFM alone. He had just broken an unspoken rule- show no CFM mercy. There were three groups of people in Capital High: the elites (those who had good looks, wealth, fame or connections), the talents (those who could sing, dance, rap, play a sport or were extremely intelligent) and the CFMs (those who did not belong in either of the first two). Each group looked out for its members and turned a blind eye to the outsiders. Until now.
‘Did I stutter? I said, leave her alone!’
See you next week Wednesday!
P.S: If you have any memories you will like to share, please send me a message via the Facebook page, Kenikodjo, or better still, send me an email- firstname.lastname@example.org
*we are from JSS, the capital town of Primary. We are coming to Capital High to serve the Form 3s. We will scrub and weed. We are coming to Capital High to serve the Forms 3s.