Bullying among High School Students

Bullying among High School Students

By Warris Kimathi 

For any parent, there is one big danger that a child could face in school, bullies.

In my old school, there was an old form of bullying that many victims were happy to go through.

In Chugu Primary- besides keeping the traditions laid down by the legends who came before us – we also strictly observed the traditions of the Ameru! Yes!

The common school traditions such as the Showground pilgrimage and lying kifundifundi on the morning dew if you were late to school were all universally accepted; by both the learners and the law.

There was one such rite, however, that was not accepted by the headmaster, and the headmaster was the law.

The rite was called gatuurî.

Boys nearing puberty would gang up with their older counterparts into this unholy cult that would send a ripple of havoc through the entire generation of pre-pubescents in the mighty Chugu Pry.

The tradition was a rite of passage complete with a ceremony that I will get to in a short while.

By going through Gatuurî as a boy you would have gone through ‘Gûkûrua‘ which literally means ‘to be made into a man‘.

It’s all laughable now.

But so serious was it at the time, such that you could not even talk about the ritual in the presence of non-members. And the Members were very few.

Because the boys who had braved the rite were the most popular in the school,  it was considered a big occasion whenever a brother got admission into this regal class of the Ameru’s most despised population.

A population of ‘Biîjî‘— uncut boys.

It was all done incognito, like the onset of the Spanish Inquisition. And it had its season.

Not a single soul outside the operation knew about it- or so we the boys thought.

Of course, the school knew about the monkey business because everyone in the whole bloody community knew about it.

Gatuurî was (and still is) a highly punishable felony in the eyes of parents, teachers and even the village Chief.
But no one was standing there to be caught.

On the day I was inducted into ‘Gatuuri‘ I don’t think I had seen what hit me coming.

Most of my friends had been inducted and I was losing them fast. So I decided to approach some movers and shakers about my own christening.

It was arranged hastily, and that following Saturday afternoon I found myself on the tail end of a long procession of schoolboys marching down rugged trails into the Nkando- the mischief underworld Headquarters.

We were a handful of acolytes and a dozen or so ‘recruiters‘. The recruiters chatted incessantly but the acolytes just followed in silence.

The procession stopped abruptly once we were deep into the shrubs.

Everyone sat in a clearing and the ceremony started solemnly.

I could be banished from the community or even summoned by the Njûri for writing what happened next – but there’s always a cost for a good story.

One of the older boys immediately took charge and steered the programme with a nasty look on his face that no doubt meant to instil fear among the acolytes.

And it was working.

Before I could mouth two Mississippi, the apparels of the bizarre ceremony were produced out of nowhere. Several long sticks were dumped into the vicious-looking circle.

A stick was then picked from the pile by a different person and who in turn made small arc on the ground. Like an entry into a invisible little realm inside the circle.

Only problem, the arc was not large enough for one of my rabbits to pass through.

I was still staring when someone brought a ‘Nkoroombe‘- the banana fruit, known to be as bitter as regrets.
Nonetheless, I was getting drawn in.

“Kim! Ambya!”

Kim was me, and ambya meant start.

What was I starting?

Somebody’s rough hand pushed me into the circle, making my slight flame stagger and land in my nose. I quickly gathered myself up.

Everyone’s eyes were dancing with anticipation, following me around the circle.

The tension was so thick, it could be cut with a cheese knife.

I was supposed to lie down and wiggle myself through the semi-circular arc on the ground without touching it- lest it springs off the ground. Moving forward like a World War II soldier

I wouldn’t want that to happen, someone explained slowly.

Moving forward stealthily like a World War II soldier, I slid to the ground and arced my painfully thin frame, ready to plunge into the high society head first.

Kwanza, I looked up to seek assurance and found that all the other boys were surrounding me; with  the sticks in their hands, faces lit with villainous mirth.

The sullen Master of Ceremony threw the first stone and hell broke loose on I and I.

As an unrestricted number of canes landed on my legs, butt and back I started moving on my belly towards the small arc in front of me.

If you’re going through hell, why the hell would you stop?

As I squeezed my eyes shut and crawled into the arc the boys continued to rain strokes on me, their devilish excitement now building into a crescendo of raw violence.

I made it across the arc without upsetting the bent stick. My entire posterior was on fire and everyone was laughing.

Those waiting in the line now wore masks of pure terror.

I was hurting, but scratching myself would only betray a sign of weakness- and this was not the environment where you could get away with being a p**sy.

I looked down and tried to fight back the salt draining into my eyes.

When the MC noticed he just stepped forward and thrust the heart-shaped banana Fruit into my face, mean-faced.

Ta-kuna!”

I didn’t hear him right. That means chew. What!?

I asked ‘what?’, and he confirmed. The tears dried up in my eyes immediately – and instead, I got a bad taste in my mouth.

They were asking me to eat a Nkoroombe.

I reluctantly put it in my mouth, just the tip, —and took a bite.

Looking back now, It tasted like unemployment and bad choices.

I gagged and stood up straight.

The MC shot me a look. I took another bite and stopped mid-action, my bile was rising like coke in a straw.
I spat out the slimy, sticky stuff and felt like a cow.

No one was glaring anymore.

My rite was over. The MC slid his mean mask on and called the next guy.

Kaariu!” -Not his real name.

I cracked a tired smile and said a prayer for Kaariu.

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