Story: Hadiza Nuhhu-Billa Quansah
Can you imagine being asked to use a pencil, pen or ruler to eat ‘gari soakings’ or sing and dance for over an hour? Yes, that is ‘homoing’ (bullying by seniors) for you. ‘Homoing’ is part of secondary school life. It does not matter one’s size or background; he or she would be bullied just to make his or her life miserable in his or her first few weeks as a fresher in the boarding house.
Everybody who attended secondary school has been bullied before — just ask your mum, dad or even grandparents who went to boarding school.
In every boarding secondary school, there is a special day set aside for ‘homos’. This is a night full of humour for the seniors and frustration for the Form One students, although it is always an interesting experience to recall the day later on in life.
During the ‘homos night’, all fresh students are supposed to dress in various crazy styles. For instance, the boys are made to wear different shoes or slippers, with a cloth wrapped around their bodies and sponges used for neckties. The girls also wear their nighties over pairs of trousers skirts, with their towels as headgear. At the peak of the ‘homos’ night, some seniors who want to be a bit mischievous go round sprinkling talcum powder or pouring laundry blue mixed with gari on the freshers. The freshers are then asked to showcase their talents to entertain the seniors.
As if the ‘homos night’ is not enough, fresh students are also bullied in their respective dormitories. Sometimes the ‘homoing’ becomes just too much to handle. However, the freshers dare not report any senior to the senior housemaster/housemistress or the head of the school. Do you know why? Ha ha ha! Those freshers who make the complaint will end up compounding their wahala (trouble) because when the affected seniors get punished, they in turn will make the life of the complaining juniors very miserable.
The Junior Graphic interacted with some continuing students to find out their experiences when they were in Form One and they had a lot to share. For instance, Nancy Peprah, a Form Four student of St John’s Grammar, said she reported to school a bit late and could, therefore, not be ‘homoed’ during the official ‘homos’ night.
“However, I was not spared. In fact, because I am very smallish, they took advantage of that to send me around the various dormitories to sing and dance for them for hours,” she recalled.
One thing still fresh in Nancy’s mind was when she was asked to use her bathroom slippers to make a phone call to her parents.
“I asked how that was possible and I was shouted at. Immediately I obeyed and had to act it out till I started crying. Instantly they started jumping and laughing and asked me to go. Now I am in Form Four and I also bully students, notwithstanding my physical stature. I am eagerly awaiting the arrival of fresh students so we can have fun before I write my final exams,” she disclosed.
For, Thelma Bawa, a Form Two student of the Kumasi Girls’ Senior High School, ‘homos night’ was one of the best forms of entertainment she ever had in school. According to her, her elder sister, who is currently in Form Three in another school, briefed her on ‘homoing’ and so she prepared her mind for it.
“I was sometimes sent around carrying different items on me like a mad person and was also asked to use by shoes to play drums and dance to the tune, which I did. Unfortunately, some of my mates could not stand the pressure and broke down in tears,” she recounted laughing.
Like Thelma and Nancy, remember you will also become seniors one day and, therefore, enjoy every bit of the ‘homos night’.