Today’s Prompt: Think about an event you’ve attended and loved. Your hometown’s annual fair. That life-changing music festival. A conference that shifted your worldview. Imagine you’re told it will be cancelled forever or taken over by an evil corporate force.
How does that make you feel?
I have no idea what event to write here because quite honestly I am not an events person. But if I am to be honest the one event that I used to hold dear, was house drama in high school. Man I loved that thing! It was always in first term. A term charged with energy! From the beginning as we decided what music to play, which ethnic language to choose from. And then we would weave all of the songs until the story just flowed. It was amazing! And seeing as most of us were born in the city “born Tao” as we said it. So it was fun watching us struggle to go back to our roots.
Then the choreography! We had to choose which of the girls would perform or dance as the males. I think Africans thrived on gender balance. (Even if some of the rules right now have proved to have no value eg the FGM, There was still balance you know? )
Any who we would prepare for the dance each and every day. Waking up at 5am then running from class at lunch hour to practice and perfect both our singing and dancing. It had to be legit.
Three/two weeks to time our creative minds would go into designing our own creations of what the perfect outfit would look like. Something both flattering yet practical. And that would enhance every move that our tiny bodies would make. We would make these outfits sometimes even by hand! Crafting in beads and sometimes pleats to just make the design better. There were marks to be worn for costumes and it was the one day in the rather strict boarding school that outrageous outfits were allowed. We would work on this outfits sometimes till 4am and sometimes, actually most times, the dancer would wear the dress and most modifications done while the costume was on them on the D_day.
Then the dance itself! 12 houses competing against each other infront of the school, teachers and a panel of judges. Outsiders of course. And marks would be awarded for everything, from the dance choreography, to vocal projection, to emotion of the dancers, to the outfits, stage utility, a smile would easily give you a mark.
With our war marks on, and in our beautiful outfits, we would enter the hall and the female dancers would gyrate their waists from side to side as they fell on the ground to the tempo of the music or the meaning of the song and right before your eyes a beautiful story was told! Maybe that of a man seeking a woman and the family refusing. Maybe that of intense hunger suffered by children …it could be anything.
I still remember the songs…
“Avana variranga” – the Child is crying…
“Mulongo!! Ao!! Mulllooooongo! Aoo!! Ts! Tsi! Tsi ! Ao!”
They went on and on.
I cannot imagine how I would feel if they scrapped that off. Especially if they did so whilst I was still in high school. It would just break me. And the fact that it also came with the plus of no end of term exams! I would be devastated.
I cannot fathom Pangani (my high school) minus House dance. Those twelve houses with twelve performances shouting at the top of their voices to support their own. And the amazing feeling of holding that title of the best in something for another year.
I will not evin begin to imagine it! Na ah…
I am just grateful that I passed that stage when I did …and the memories the sweet memories of the gyrating of hips of the outstanding black and gold dresses with cowry shells! Proclaiming sweet Seagull (my house) _ the victory!
The joy of knowing that being African reverberates within you.
May no student ever lack that. I hope all of you reading this had a chance to experience something similar. Something that looking back at your high school days, captures the whole essence of what team work and joy while working means.