I had gained admission into KNUST to read my first choice program and were to reside in Unity Hall, an all-male hall of residence on campus. Unity Hall? I had no idea what this Unity Hall was, and how it looked like. I had never heard of it and didn’t remember seeing anything Unity Hall on my only visit to KNUST.
I talked to one close friend from my former senior high school who had also gained admission into KNUST and was also to reside in Unity Hall. I told him how disappointed I was that I was to stay in Unity Hall, and how I would have preferred to be in a different hall. But he was rather happy to be in that same hall. He had an uncle already in the school and in Unity Hall, and this uncle had told him all about the hall. He told me it was the best place for us to be on campus, and that we were really going to enjoy our stay judging from what his uncle had told him.
I arrived late to do my hall registration, and the sight of the two towering buildings was soul stirring. Wow, my hall of residence? Such beauty and elegance to behold, and yeah, I had fallen in love with the hall already. My friend had already been allocated his room; room 221 on the first floor of block B and I was to be in room 406, on the seventh floor of that same block.
School was in full flow in the week that followed, and soon, posters announcing the celebration of our 40th hall week was scattered all over campus. The event details, together with images on the poster were very exciting and I couldn’t wait for it to start.
We were to begin the week celebrations with a procession through some principal routes that lead to other halls and hostels on campus. The procession was to inform the school community about our impending hall week celebrations, and also to invite them to attend when the celebrations started.
I, together with many first years had no idea how this procession was going to be like, but considering the noise and hype surrounding this event, I was in a very expectant mood. The night before the procession was simply amazing, and I had never felt something like that ever before. The morale and euphoria in the hall was mind blowing as ‘proce ooo, proce’ was screamed throughout the hall, all in anticipation of this august event. I hardly blinked an eye that night as I lay in my bed; I didn’t want to sleep. What if I sleep, and ‘proce’ was over by the time I wake up? No, I wasn’t going to sleep.
As if in a trance, I hurriedly got up from my bed not knowing how I fell asleep. It was some few minutes after 5am, and I realized almost everyone was hurrying to the forecourt of the hall spotting very weird and crazy outings. I dressed to be in tune with what I saw, and I was at the forecourt in a matter of seconds where I joined in singing some of our famous ‘jama’ songs before we set off. Over a thousand students from the hall and other affiliates of the hall had gathered in front of the hall, and soon everything was set for us to move.
Some hall executives, together with the hall master and other senior staff from the hall led the procession, and directed us as to the routes to take. There’s been this ever standing rivalry between our hall and the University Hall on campus, with both of us all struggling for supremacy. It had been rumoured in our hall the night before that, members from the University Hall would refuse any efforts from us to use the route in front of their hall and thus mar our procession. But we had been given the all clear by authorities of the school to use that route, and there was not going to be anyone stopping us.
We arrived at the junction leading to the University Hall, and were met by a police van that had blocked the route leading to their hall. These self-acclaimed rulers of KNUST from the University Hall had mounted their own barrier some few meters away from the entrance of their hall with some old car tires in flames. They had made their mind too, and it was surely no passage for us. The police, who had been invited to provide extra security had seen this before we arrived and knew there would be a clash if they allowed us to take that route. They therefore instructed us to go back and use a different route and continue our procession. The police finally got fed up and drove off, as all their attempts to prevent us from using that route proved futile.
We were now left face-to-face with members of the University Hall, a handful of them, and they started throwing stones and other self-made missiles at us. That really got me scared, and I thought turning back to use a different route would have just served as the solution. But my people had other ideas, and at the shout of ‘puuuush’ were on rampage, running towards them and throwing stones at them too. I threaded cautiously through the mob so as not to get hurt, as I was in awe of all that which was happening. They got scattered and run back into their hall as they feared what was coming at them. That was a real action packed scene, worth a Hollywood feature.
Several injuries were sustained, and several properties at their hall were as well destroyed. In all, they were the worst hit by this clash which they caused and we remained in an ever jubilant mood hours and days after the incident. We had won a great battle, and the opponents in this battle made it sweeter.
It’s been six years since it all happened, but that day remains my happiest day ever in all the years I spent in school. The manner in which it all happened wasn’t the best, and I wish that never happens again. But on THAT DAY we defined a new status quo and wrote a great story in our history books. On THAT DAY powers changed hands, and yes, ‘I was there some’.
It’s been six years on, and still CONTI RULES…
Much respect to all powerful continentals who were involved in writing this history, and to all who were not there but have ensured Conti stays high up ever since.
(Former ChoirMaster, 2010 – 2012)