In every university, there is a notorious hall. I hear at the University of Cape Coast, Atlantic Hall is the champion hall. At KNUST is University Hall, (also known as Katanga, which easily wears the crown of notoriety). As for Legon, if I say it is Commonwealth Hall, Alhaji Razak EI-Alawa will take me to court, so I won't say it.
Just as there is a notorious hall on campus, there is always a counter-notorious hall there to ensure some balance of power and equity of 'nonsensical nonsensicalities'.
So in all the campuses, you will find that no one hall enjoys the monopoly of strongarm and notoriety. It is always like a United States versus Russia political balance of power.
Campus rivalry also come in the form of the number of 'first-classes' the members get in the year. In our time, the Vandals used to do pretty well with first classes. They were not only notorious; they also 'chewed baba'.
At Legon, it is the Mensah Sarbah Hall that counter-balances the power flow from Father Bacchus' shrine, located within the Commonwealth Hall. The Vikings of Sarbah, natural warlords, display an uncanny knack for battle readiness and daring attacks. They aJe experts in wars of attrition.
In the universities, campus rivalries rear their ugly heads during hall weeks. During such periods, a celebrating hall normally hires a brass-band and hall members take to a procession, masquerading as Brazilian samba dancers, doing the samba combined adowa, kpalogo and agbadza.
The men normally wear ladies' dresses and vice-versa and the procession tours all the other halls where they are joined by well-wishers to dance around. The occasion is normally one of camaraderie, but whenever celebrants tour a rival hall, there is usually a_ possibility of a clash.
For instance, if a Mensah Sarbah Hall procession gets to the Commonwealth the Vandals could decide that they are not in the mood to welcome their rivals. They want no noise and so the celebrants are simply unwelcomed.
If Vikings of Sarbah felt slighted and insisted on their right to tour Vandal City anyway, it could be the beginning of hostility, especially when the celebrants are high on bubra complemented with an akpeteshie top-up.
In some instances, the Vikings will accept to take their procession away to other halls and continue their celebration. When it, however, comes to the turn of Commonwealth, then Vikings must also demand their pound of flesh.
That is when real trouble is most likely to ignite and end in conflict with its attendant high tension on campus.
The recent Katanga clash with Unity at KNUST is a perfect example of campus rivalry. One hall was celebrating its hall week and members of another hall allegedly put up a road-block; so naturally missiles and projectiles must be released both ways. Luckily, it did not degenerate into a full-scale combat situation with running battles and petrol bombs.
You can be sure that when the other hall is also celebrating, a road-block is likely to be placed and manned with all ferocity and vigour. But you can't man a roadblock bare-handed and c1ear-eyed. At least 'quarter quarters four' of akpeteshie alias sodabi, must be running through the veins.
If you top it with brukutuor solom, all the better. You don't fortify a city with weapons alone; you must also possess red eyes to show. you mean business.
So it came to pass that Katanga clashed with Unity and a few injuries were recorded. Now, people will suggest that hall weeks should be banned because they sometimes result in trouble. But nay!
These days the campuses are almost dead.
Over-population and feeding problems are telling on students, so there is nothing interesting around. It is during hall weeks that students really have that sense of belonging to their halls and enjoy the fun. So if hall week celebrations are banned, it will be disastrous for students.
In our time, there were no such feeding problems on campus, so life was good. In our fathers' time, it was even better because it was one student per room. Today, perchers are even more than legal occupants of rooms on the campuses.
In some of the halls, sanitation is not the best. It means a lot needs to be done for tertiary education. Happily, the GETFund is taking up the challenge.
That besides, some will even argue that over-population on campus is a blessing in disguise. When we were paired on campus, and earlier when it was one student per room, immorality on campus became an issue.
Girlfriends could come around to spend whole weekends. It could be anything from STO's and abortions to sexual perversions.
There was this phenomenon of 'internalizing' and 'externalizing,' meaning you either had an internal girlfriend or an external one, who often came to pass the night. Today, that phenomenon has been phased out by over-population.
Girlfriends and boyfriends will still exist but 'honeymooning' is well-nigh out of the question. How can a boy ask five other boys to excuse him to fornicate? The others will ask if he is the only one who has balls.
And if a student boy visits his girlfriend in a room with six other girls, chances are that the girls will ask him to vamoose after three minutes of chatting.
If he insists on staying, the girls might decide that 'ponding' will solve the problem. And if you enter into the university's record as the first boy to be pondered by girls, that will sure have a lasting impression.
Now, students should celebrate but have it in mind that over-doing things can always bring chaos on cam- I pus.
Credit: Merari Alomele
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