Despite all the hardships SHS was quite fun. At POJOSS (which is to date reserved for male students), I enjoyed the company of my colleagues to the fullest, especially my mates in General Arts 1 that I frequently passed jokes about pursuing my tertiary education in an all-male University. I dare say this ‘dream’ came to pass after my admission into the ‘University of Commonwealth’.
My stay in Commonwealth hall throughout my years as a student is what I’ll describe as worthwhile and filled with fond memories, except for my initial days that were marked by intense dislike for the hall and its inhabitants.
The first day I stepped foot in the hall didn’t end so well for me. Walking to my room that day, I heard some guys yelling at someone. As usual, I decided to mind my own business and continue walking. The affront grew louder and intense – strong enough to catch my attention until I realized that no other than me was the object of their fury.
Before I could even figure out what has triggered the unwelcoming gesture, I felt a heavy hand behind shoving me out of the way. Apparently, without noticing, I had walked past an inscription on the floor that read “KEEP OFF” into a no-go area. The result of that was the insults that I assume were intended to draw my attention to my offense.
I felt bad about the treatment that I began to hold an internal grudge with members of the hall.
This chilly feeling was reinforced by some negative comments I heard about the hall before my admission into the University.
A lot of people held ill thoughts about Commonwealth hall. I heard people venture unpleasant opinions about the hall; others went to an extent of tying the practices of vandalism to mysticisms and identified members as ‘Dionysians’. Anyone who has a fair understanding of vandalism knows all these assertions represent warped versions of the truth.
I can recall at the beginning of the 2018/2019 academic year, the Vice-Chancellor in his short address to the Vandals made an interesting revelation about how Vandals some time ago charged at land larceners who were illegally stealing the University lands and forced them to stop.
"While all students of the University College should remember with gratitude the debt, they owe to it, it is the Hall, to which they belong and where they were given opportunity of learning to live as members of the academic community, that should kindle their most fervent loyalties. I hope that those members of the University College who have lived in Commonwealth Hall or are associated with it in other ways will help to build a worthwhile tradition of which future generations will feel proud"- Dr. Modjaben Dowuona
We’ve also heard a lot about students in Commonwealth hall leading actions that birthed desirable outcomes.
For me, if vandalism should remain a topic for discussion, then undoubtedly much emphasis should be paid to the remarkable contributions. At least those who fail to acknowledge the good attributes of vandalism shouldn’t project a molehill as a mountain in promulgating the excesses.
There have been so much interesting times in Commonwealth hall – the morale sessions, the countless ‘proce’ and ‘PAWA nights’.
Aside from that, much has been learned from this great citadel within the four years' stay at the University of Ghana - from an unflinching willingness to stand and fight for justice and fairness to a strong bond of brotherliness.
Since my first year, I have been exposed to acts of firmness and a massive resistance against unfavorable services to the JCR. I can hark back to the unreasonable hike in food prices when I was in my first year. After series of foiled attempted negotiations, the JCR settled on a boycott. We were dead set at the cause that we went hungry for weeks to see to the favorable consideration of our grievances. The sacrifice paid off massively.
This particular action was a true demonstration of character, which induced in us, particularly freshmen a sense of obstinacy against further despotism.
As for unity, I’ll say it’s been our identity. Ask everyone what they know about Commonwealth hall and they’ll share a mutual opinion; ‘the guys are united’.
Commonwealth hall has also taught us that the University is the best place to learn how to cohabitate, and as a principle of moral excellence, selflessness must be upheld by all. A colleague resident, as I can recall in my second year revealed to me that anytime he went broke, he could fall on other guys for meals, at least. I also experienced similar kindness and also reciprocated the same actions. Being there for one another is, and has always been at the center of vandalism.
I definitely cannot mention everything that happened during my four-year stay, but at least I can boldly say I don’t regret being a resident of Commonwealth hall.
It’s been four years and finally, my stay in the hall as a resident has come to an end. What more could I ask for? This experience has been marvelous.
Ayekoo to all 2020/2021 batch V-mates. I pray we excel in the journey ahead and make the fraternity proud.
Adieu. Till we meet again.
Long live Commonwealth hall
Long Live Vandalism
By: Nathan Nana Afari,
(Commonwealth hall JCR Secretary 2020/2021; former Editor, Vandals Echo Newsletter)