Kat@50: Life In Katanga

 This is culled from the official Katanga Alumni website: www.katangaweb.com
The Legend - Sir John
ORGANISATION
 
Katanga is organized formally as any of the other Halls with a constitution recognizing the Senior and Junior Common Rooms. The Senior Common Room is made up of past fellows who work for the University and periodically elect the Hall Masters from amongst themselves.
 
The Junior Common Room (JCR), on the other hand, is made up of the students who are assigned to the Hall and by extension, all those other students who are not assigned but consider themselves Katangees by being in the Hall and being so accepted. The JCR organizes elections every year to elect executives to the positions of President, Vice President, Secretary and Financial Secretary for the next academic year. Those so elected then have the responsibility to appoint persons to be in charge of the Library and the Notice Board (Katribune) or committees for specific purposes.
 
Where Katanga differs from the other Halls is the existence of the Traditional Council which is headed by the Odeefuo. Where the matters of the Traditional Council come in, Katanga proudly adopts the unwritten constitution with convention rather than written law as in the United Kingdom. The Vice President of the JCR is by default a member of the Traditional Council which has other offices like that of the “Choir Master”, “Bombardier” and “Okyeame”. The traditional Council is responsible for the proce in the hall and also maintained law and order. The Odeefuo was the one responsible for order during a proce and made sure that all his men came back home safely. Where there was any crises involving the hall, all decisions were to be taken in consultation with the Odeefuo and the Council of Elders who were mostly fellows undertaking post graduate degrees.
 
HALL ANTHEM
 
To date Katanga stands as the only hall in Ghana and possibly Africa with an official anthem, a digitally recorded one at that. The anthem extols the fact that “We are the heart of UST” whilst making one aware that “Katanga is our name”. Then it brings forcefully forward, the truism that we are “The hall of real intellectuals” and recalls its birth name, “The University Hall”. Then it draws on our strength as “A united family of brothers” whilst warning that “We rest not”. Finally, it asks “All [to] hail Katangees” as we occupy our place of pride and show that “We are the great fellows”.
 
ACADEMIC EXCELLENCE
 
This is one of the main reasons we came to school anyway but it is worthy of note that despite their excessive social activities, Katangees never forget their aims and objectives and most have been known to come out with flying colors. It is a fact that even those who don’t like coming to KatCity during the greater part of the semester visit the citadel of knowledge, Katanga, during examination periods for discussions and consultations with Katangees. It is usual to see such students standing in groups under the Bridge in the main Hall, with a Katangee at the board, lecturing his classmates. In any graduation ceremony, the highest percentages of first class students are Katangees.
ENIGMA
 
A very interesting but debatable issue is that Katangees make the best husbands and boyfriends. Some people even claim the best ‘Men-of-God’ come from KatCity. Even though the purpose of this piece is not to market Fellows to the world, we believe a few points about the intrinsic and extrinsic nature of fellow Katangees will point to these truths.
Most people subscribe to the theory that the Hall changes people. Several accounts have been given of guys who, after becoming members of the hall, ceased to be shy, timid or anti-social and rather become confident, friendly, out-going, positively dynamic and excelled in all forms of endeavors. Psychologists claim shyness is a limitation that prevents individuals from realizing their full potential so this change is for the better. The question is: what causes these changes? To most Fellows this change comes from Ponding, the initiation rite of choice. Others claim it is the name and “spirit” of Katanga while others think it is both!
 
PONDING
 
Ponding, the act of immersing people in water, apart from being an initiation rite, is also a recreation as well as a form of correction for wrongdoers in the Katanga Community. But as scientists say, water always finds its own level, and truly most people drop a lot of limiting negative traits, and pick up positive ones after going through the water a few times. As if the founders of the university had this foresight, they blessed the hall with two big ponds. It is in the ponds that bonds of friendships are made and ideals set.
There are variants of ponding such as, yoyooyo, waterproof, cotting, face down and guadiamus as well as treasured positions such as the “headmaster” who is the one who holds the head of the Fellow being ponded. In times when the ponds have been filled by the University authorities, the spirit of ninjas have emptied them before the break of dawn, making sure that the tradition continued.
 
NINJAS
 
Throughout the history of the Hall, when strange unexplained things have happened on campus coincidentally around the same time when the Hall is championing any issue, they have been blamed on Katanga. The hall has, however, always denied these as they are not matters which it would normally want to conduct when it can achieve its aims in an open, transparent and positively dynamic manner. It has, however, believed that there have been Ninja characters in the mould of Robin Hoods who have been engaging in these acts and have always been gracious for them because they made it possible for points to be drawn home without needlessly involving the might of Katanga! To those Ninjas dead or alive, we say ayekoo!
 
PROCE (Processions)
 Jama Mashie!
FIRST ON THE ASPHALT
 
It is said that if you excel in small things, you are bound to do the same with great ones.  Kat depicts this by being the first to go on a Brass-band procession on the streets of Campus-UST when they were resurfaced with asphalt at the beginning of the1989/90 academic year. This is an event that has been commemorated every year since then.  
JESUS MARCH    
 
One of the things that make Katangees unique is our affinity to show our appreciation to our creator for our lives in all we do. We are the first hall to have a procession through the streets of the University and proclaim the good news of the Lord every year on the Sunday that begins our Hall week celebrations. We also kick start our annual hall week celebrations with a Kat crusade where powerful men of God come and preach the word to Katangees and the greater university populace. Well, this is a clear fulfillment of giving to Caesar what is Caesar’s and giving to God what is God’s.
 
SHABRAIN PROCE
 
Shabrain proce is undertaken every semester on the first Sunday after the start of examinations. It starts around dusk and takes fellows to all the halls where their compatriots will be busy learning especially for examinations on the following day. This proce is mainly to awaken those who are in slumber to be aware that examinations are around the corner and also serve notice that despite our commitment to the cause of defending students and our numerous activities, we are as ready for the impending examinations and need not study that evening. One of the main songs on this procession says “y3 y3 sha brain, sha brain na y3 y3, s3 wo wh3 na s3 wo ny3 sha brain a, 3 be di y3kyi oo, na wo 3nim b3guasi” meaning we are brainy so if you don’t consider yourself brainy, then better not follow us on the procession because you will be disgraced!
 
HALL WEEK PROCES
 
During the Hall’s annual hall week celebrations, all the week days are classed as “Goes Goes” where different themes are sent on procession each day. The procession is timed to meet the first break from lectures at the Central Classroom Block so as not to disturb lectures for the less brainy students. There is then a parade of the particular theme in the quadrangle of the block and then fellows file past in procession to all the other premises where lectures are held but this time not stopping to disturb the less brainy students! On some of the days, placards are sent on the procession to carry messages which the hall wants to get across to people. Examples are “Jesus Loves Katanga”, “Women Emancipation Now”, “Your VC is asleep”, “FCUBE no good” and “No religious conflicts”
Mondays (unless as varied from time to time) are for “Kat Goes Religious”. Fellows dress as Rasterfarians, Fetish Priests, Popes, Budhists, Hari Krishnas etc for the procession to celebrate the diverse religious nature of the country. It is common place for, say, Moslems to dress as Christians and vice versa and offer prayers in those religions when called upon in the quadrangle. This has fostered religious harmony and respect amongst fellows and the University community at large because the issue of religion is discussed and treated dispassionately.
 
Tuesdays are for “Kat Goes Yankee”. On this day, Fellows wear baggy clothes, wear weird hair cuts, designer clothes and all they can lay hands on which depict the West and mainly American street culture. It is mainly to draw attention to the fact that the extremes of these cultures which have or may be finding its way to the Ghanaian shores are outrageous and not worth following. They are also to generate humour through the Raps that some fellows recite with the background of blaring music normally from a car or on someone’s shoulder.
 
Wednesdays, there is “Kat Goes Girly”. This is where, in honour of our mothers, sisters, girlfriends etc, Fellows parade in any female clothing they can get hold of. Indeed, most of these costumes are provided by female course mates on campus who are then ecstatic when they see their pals in them with all the muscles and hair! Beside the fun, the day is also meant to draw attention to some of the issues facing women in their daily lives and to make the University community know that even though Katanga is a solely male Hall, female issues are high on our agenda. In recent times some of the pictures showing the hall on a “Girly” procession have found its way onto websites where fellows have been labelled as gays who are struggling for recognition in Africa. Whilst Fellows do not have anything against gays, it has not taken lightly to this suggestion as it is not the spirit with which these clothes are worn.
 Katanga has the prettiest ladies!
Thursdays are for “Kat Goes FCUBE”. On this day, fellows obtain and put on the state prescribed uniform for the Junior High School (most often from their young siblings or family members) as well as clothes depicting teachers and headmasters to highlight the Free Compulsory Universal Basic Education (FCUBE) system. This, most importantly, seeks to highlight the plight of pupils in deprived areas who wear all sorts of “permutations” of the clothes in their brazen quest to conform whilst they obtain basic education. On this day, a morning parade is held at the Central Classroom Block as is held nationwide on all mornings of the school day with fellows acting various roles much to the amusement of the less brainy colleagues!
 
Friday being the last one, is “Kat Goes Zulu”. On this day, fellows dress as Zulu warriors and sing Zulu and apartheid songs in celebration of the bravely of that tribe and the role they played in the breakdown of apartheid as their fearless fights against conquering forces before. This day is meant to show that Katangees are as brave as the Zulus and would employ positive dynamism in all ends to achieve its goals. Occasionally, the Zulu event is modified to include a spectacle of catching stray domestic animals  to mimic the Aboakyir festival. As the Katanga Zulu ritual include painting the body with clay or chalk, it is inevitable that the return to the hall from the procession is marked by wild celebrations in the pond with fellows re-establishing their credentials are “ensuo mba” meaning children of water/river. By this day, the hall is already wired with music equipment and so the music plays interspersed with the hall anthem till the dawn of the morning which is the FunCity.
FIRST AMONG EQUALS
 
One distinct quality of Katangees is to be the best if not the first in all endeavors. Here are a few examples: 
MR FLEX
 
Katanga was the first institution to organize a muscle flex competition anywhere in Ghana. Today muscle flex and bodybuilding competitions have become a major form of entertainment and financial venture in the country.
 
FM STATION
Kat was the first to have a Frequency Modulated (FM) radio station and a permanent one at that on any campus in Ghana. At the time, there was only the national GBC FM. and it was an honor for many ladies and other non-Katangees to host programs or be interviewed on RADIO CONTACTO since a greater PERCENTAGE of Kumasi residents tuned in everyday. Today, there are FM stations everywhere in Ghana but the historians should not forget that Radio Contacto or KAT FM was a great contributor to the development of the people’s interest in this venture. Some notable personalities who were touched and/or developed their talents via this channel are Messrs. Eddie Fabin and Samuel Atta-Mensah of City Fm, Al Pacino and Don Kizimus of Kapitol FM and Adjei of Radio GAR.
 
BEAUTIFYING THE CAMPUS
 
Realising that the school had a good landscaping potential, Katanga started the grassing of the lawns surround at the turn of the millennium making sure that the hall’s floral environs were adequately manicured and kempt. The university has now taken it on as a project and done same all over the main areas of the campus.
 
HALL MARKET
 
Katanga built the first of the Hall Markets in 2001 to serve members of the hall and its environs who were hitherto served by sellers who had no distinct place to sell their wares and were at the mercy of the weather when it rained. Almost every Hall has now constructed its own market to follow Katanga’s lead.
PERSPECTIVES
 
One distinctive feature of Katangees is their sociability and openness. This has a lot to do with the Katangee’s ability to make friends easily and make campus an interesting place to be. The Annual Kat Hall Week celebration has always been a time when the whole school is held spellbound. The costumes worn on various days for events like KAT goes Religious, Rural, Zulu etc. are spoken of years after the event.  Those who have never witnessed a KAT UNDER 16 match with the ASHTOWN ladies, MS KAT competition and Aboakyir festival have really missed a great deal. Even the most anti-social people in Tech are proud to be involved in Kat Hall Week.
 
HALL WEEK VARIETY NITE SHOW
KATCity was the first to organize a variety entertainment nite as a viable fund raising venture with the introduction of the MR FLEX and MS KAT shows at the turn of the last decade of the 20th century. Today there are lots of these variety nite shows. Example, MR UST, MR LEGON, MR HERCULES, MS COLLEGIATE (not COLGATE) and did I hear somebody say MR CAPE VARS? Beside the variety shows, Katanga Fun Citys have been the pick of all students on campus because one was assured of the Katanagee’s hospitality with free food and drinks when they visited their friends in the hall on that day. Other halls were ghost towns during their FunCity programs because they would not want to spend on their friends!
 
SPORTS
 
It is not by chance that during sporting activities, like football competitions, even when Kat is playing the second game the opening ceremony is held at that time. It appears that most people are always intrigued with the creativity and exploits of the Katangees. They come to such ceremonies to hear us sing the KAT Anthem, the repertoire “Fine Fine VC”, not forgetting such Classics like ‘Balloon in the sky’ , the religious vein ‘Ebenezer’, and the military style’ ‘Zaminamina’. Even opponents of the hall would agree that sporting activities involving Kat are very interesting and for some reason we excel in disciplines no one expects us to.
For one thing sporting activities involving the hall are always competitive and crowd pulling and has often led to people performing above themselves. In the final analysis this has been good for UST. It must be mentioned that the only functioning tennis court on campus belongs to and is maintained by Katanga.
 
KATANGA’S FURTHER TERRITORIES
 
As the years passed, the positive dynamism of Katangese extended its “territories”. The Post Graduate Hostel built behind Katanga had been christened the ‘ShabaProvince’ in keeping with its Congolese heritage. At the turn of the millennium, the Ghana Universities Super-numeration Scheme (GUSS) constructed the first of hostels to ease the pressure of the existing hall facilities. Perhaps realizing the need for any new students to be carefully guided by Katangees, the Scheme chose a site close to Katanga for their hostels. Katanga dutifully rose to the occasion and christened the orphaned hostel. It was named Brunei and a Sultan installed as a link between the hall and Katanga. The name Brunei, though a departure from the Congolese heritage, came about at a time when the Sultan of Brunei had visited Ghana, and had had his wealth flaunted by the press. Seeing that the first students of Brunei were living in comparatively plush en-suite facilities and paying sky high prices for the privilege, Katanga aptly named it Brunei.
The latest of Katanga’s “territories” was the SSNIT Hostel far afield from the hall but which nonetheless, the hall successfully laid claim to. The hostel was christened Gaza. Legend has it that, being closer in geographical proximity to the SSNIT Hostel and wanting to copy the unique success story that Brunei is, members of Unity Hall had made elaborate plans to christen the hostel “Golan Heights”. Being that “control” of this hostel was “disputed” between the two halls of residence; Katangees christened it “Gaza Strip” with a view of reflecting the disputed nature of Gaza in the Middle East. Katangees mobilized themselves and went to christen the hostel even before the Unity Hall members had woken from bed. To this day, this name has been used in respect for the authority of Katanga.
 
KATANGEES IN THE NEW MILLENIUM
 
It is an interesting observation that after school most Tech guys tell their unsuspecting extes (“external” girlfriends who are not KNUST students) that they were former members of the Great Katanga. Anyway even though we knew them not, for their great desire to be what we are, we may (not will) confer on them associate membership if they pay the necessary inconvenience fee and dues.
 

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