The Initiation

Editor’s Note:

Nnamdi Anyadu is a reader, writer and movie enthusiast. Find him on Twitter @The_Africanist

We stand in the dark shadows, in the dead of the night, in company yet alone. Hands bound behind our backs. Eyes covered even in darkness.

We stand in line, shoulder to shoulder, wearing but our undergarments. We can hear the night cry of the bush baby, the sinister ruffle of the forest leaves, the ominous song of our rebirth.

Some of us have come to seek power, others belonging, a few even, salvation.

Our initiators kick, punch, smack and bruise us. We endure the pain that comes with this torment amidst stifling screams. This is our epiphany. We must welcome it. Accept it. Revel in it.

In the end, our blindfolds and binds are taken off. A patriarch adorned in a regalia of authority administers to us. He makes us swear on honour and blood. Then he welcomes us into a new family. A family bound by honour and blood.

We are the sheep that have become wolves. We are the python that has broken out from its shell. Like the night’s sky under which we are reborn, we are the cold unapologetic darkness.

We wince from the pain resonating our beaten bodies and force smiles. We have just become hard men.

Our stint would be short. We do not know this now but in two weeks’ time, a war would break out on campus – between our family and another. Many of us would fall to gunshots and wielded machetes. Some innocents would follow.

Before the Vice Chancellor would invite the military to sweep the campus grounds for those responsible for the menace; before one of us would snitch and give our names away to the authorities; before heavy metal chains would restrain my wrists and clamp down my feet, I would sit alone in my dorm room, nursing a bottle of beer, and wish that I hadn’t gone through with the initiation.


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