Saturday 11 August 2012

Childhood: Last year at RSS

One morning in Form 5
It was during morning assembly, we were exempt sadly having been kicked out of boarding house the September before by a Parents Teachers Association that felt blanket punishment of everyone was better than determining who the culprits were who for the refusal of girls to come out to play had stoned their hostels harming the girls and damaging property during summer school.
It was literally a ruinous year for many because the strictures of boarding school were lost as parents had to find ways to handle their wards that had become day students where a majority had no family.
Substitutes of sorts
I was fortunate, I could stay with my aunt but the regimen of boarding school amongst peers after school for study, interaction and the preparation for final examinations had been lost.
To augment that, we attended remedial classes amongst those who had not been too successful the year before, but we were mixing with another crowd. With hindsight, I doubt it was extra classes we needed what we needed was the adequate setting for better understanding what we had learnt within the regular school system.
Our rotten lot
As if to compound the problem, the last session of the Sixth Form students who we had tussled with about positions of student leadership was leaving too and we found ourselves having to defer to our juniors who were now the student leaders.
That 3-set Sixth Form experiment was a disaster for our morale though even though until the time that it mattered to us, we literally adopted uncles and aunties of these sons and daughters of Anak who were giants in frame and knowledge to us puny kids barely into our teenaged years.
However, in Nigeria, no humiliation is too great for the punished because in some warped way of thinking, the punished will learn lessons, no one however audits those lessons to determine if they are the right ones.
The riot we became
What did I not see of those who were left to fend for themselves in town from parties to vices and ultimately a gang-rape that this time could not be swept under the carpet? The youngest in our year would probably have been around 14, I was barely 15 and the age range went up to about 23 or so.
I was quite tall for my age if my face did not belie a pre-pubescence of sorts, in the right crowd I did gel. At home, I also had my problems that made my parents agonise about where elements of my personality could have been derailed to become the reviled imp that had the tendency to suddenly shame them.
Seeds of life
It is probably then that the seeds had been sown that I could not possibly afford to have kids like me of what was visited upon my parents either from the emotional issues that were beyond my control that took a toll on all of us to the character issues that were in formation but had their wildly scary deviations – in the deep recesses of my mind even though I know now I am incapable of having them I still harbour the fear of having my own children.
As the examinations approached, we found study cells around town which got infiltrated with rumours of exam leaks and confidence tricksters circulated false answers to questions that many were smart not to use.
That morning
On that morning a teacher saw me in a classroom waiting and thought I was in a lower form skipping assembly, without first finding out, scolded me as they were wont to do ready to wield his cane when I told him I was in Form 5; sitting down, it seemed I could barely pull off the fact that I was in the right class.
When we completed our exams, the school did put together a valedictory service for us and for all the pride we have of having passed through Remo Secondary School, not one apology has been issued to the innocent boys who were unjustly punished in the Summer of 1980 apart from what the Vice Principal said that fateful afternoon whilst we packed our bags to leave – I know that these kids were not involved – and we weren’t.

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