SCHOOL MEMORIES: Stealing an ill-mannered rooster

It was unfair that they announced those six girls from Beyaka house as winners of the Poetry Slam competition. They lacked creativity. They couldn’t even come up with a good name. Beys? What kind of name was that?

It was unfair that they announced those six girls from Beyaka house as winners of the Poetry Slam competition. They lacked creativity. They couldn’t even come up with a good name. Beys? What kind of name was that?

We deserved to win. Therefore, you can’t say that we stole their rooster. We only took what was rightfully ours. We took the rooster and we hid it in our dormitory ceiling. In the middle of the night when no one was looking, we got the rooster from the ceiling. We painted our faces with white powder, wrapped ourselves in white bed sheets and made our way to the school farm. If anyone came near, we would start screaming gibberish, pretending to be witches or ghosts or other beings. We would leave it up to the onlooker to choose. 

None of us had the courage to snap the rooster’s neck and so we decided that we would just pluck its feathers and roast it alive. No sooner had we started plucking feathers than the rooster pecked Sylvia, one of the accomplices. In pain, she released it and it took to its heels, all the while crowing.

It flew into one of the classrooms and we entered after it. In the classroom, there were some students who were reading. It was 3a.m. and so of course they were supposed to be asleep. We had a bunch of names for students like that; snakes, foxes, night dancers, the Chwezi...the list was endless.

On seeing us, some of the students started crying and screaming hysterically. Others started declaring that they belonged to Jesus Christ and that we couldn’t take them away. Their actions didn’t make sense until we remembered that we were clad in white bed sheets and that our faces were painted white. The students had decided that we were demons.

Within seconds, security guards arrived and pointed guns at us. They took us into custody. By custody, I mean that they locked us up in a tiny security house near the main school gate. It was so tiny that we had to take turns sitting down. We stayed there till morning.

As the headmistress presented us to the school during assembly, our eyes were brick red from fatigue and insomnia.

We were asked to each take a turn holding the half-plucked rooster and explaining what we had done. We had to explain everything including our outfits. We did it amidst laughter and applause.

The headmistress then took us to her office and told us to choose between expulsion and looking after the rooster. We chose the latter.

Obviously, we couldn’t keep the rooster in the dormitory. So we pleaded with the Mr Kinama the agriculture teacher to let us keep it in the school farm. He agreed on condition that we would clean after it.

In the end, we cleaned after all the poultry since Mr Kinama said there was no way to differentiate between the droppings of our rooster and that of other birds.

That wasn’t our only problem. We had an ill-mannered rooster, Mr Kinama said. The rooster got into fights and raped hens every day. And every time the rooster raped a hen, we had to buy an egg lest it turns into a chick and gives us more responsibilities.

The headmistress said looking after the rooster was no different from looking after a child. The next time preachers came to our school talking about abstinence, they were preaching to the converted.

 

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