Rites of Passage | Featured Artiste: HenriSoul

Another new week! Thank you, Lord! I know I can hear some groans and grunts of dissension, but every new day is a blessing.  That includes Monday.

One thing that used to puzzle me endlessly (and still does) are certain negative experiences in school that are passed on from generation to generation.  They have become "Rites of Passage" for some in the process of maturity in schools, and I doubt that they'll be stopping anytime soon.  I am referring to the fact that instead of "Passing on the Torch" some are bent on "Passing on the Torture."  At the top of that list is the unnecessary bullying of junior students by senior students in secondary schools.

I have never understood the need to pick on and punish junior students who have done absolutely nothing wrong.  Their only offense/crime is that they are junior students.  Finish! I witnessed this a lot in secondary school, and was appalled to see fellow classmates do the same thing that was done to them, once they attained that "senior girl" status.  For boys in secondary schools, tales of sodomizing younger, junior boys and forcing them to peform despicable sexual acts are quite common.  There's no other way to describe the latter "rite of passage" than to call it sexual abuse, because that is precisely what it is.

I have found that the boarding school system, especially for those located in remote areas, fosters these practices, and parents who are not especially vigilant may not notice the warning signs in their children on the few occasions when they visit them in school.  Granted, some of those who perpetuate these acts have been victims at one point, but shouldn't that make them more empathetic and seek to avoid causing others that same pain?  Apparently not, because that trend still continues today.

If oppression maketh a man mad, then I think it would make a lot more sense to turn that madness against the oppressors and not innocent parties who have no hand in the victim's predicament.  What I am really concerned with is how to break the cycle.  I think it all comes down to the family at the end of the day, i.e. what role the family plays in the growth and development of a child as opposed to the school's contribution.  Furthermore, by the time the child reaches the university level, cultism becomes a bigger concern.  But I am not sure I want to classify Cultism as a rite of passage, because there is an element of choice there that is not present in the secondary school setting.

What are your thoughts on this, i.e. how do we break the cycle of bullying and sexual abuse in schools? Or is there even a cycle that needs to be broken in the first place? Please share your thoughts.

Featured Artiste: Henri Soul

Henrisoul (a.k.a "Prince Gbagor") is a versatile gospel artiste.  I had first heard his debut, Gbagoro featuring Kenny K'ore (formerly of 'Infinity').

Henrisoul / ReverbNation
Then, I heard today's featured track, Sokutuyoyo, and would not have known it was the same Henrisoul singing the hook, unless I had seen his name in the title.  Why? Well, you'll have to read the review to find out. NOTE:  Sokutuyoyo is actually B.O.U.Q.U.I's song, but Henrisoul is featured on this track and it was produced by Sam Klef.  Here's the audio of Sokutuyoyo:


Likes:  The introductory beats are exciting and they lead into the hook which is repeated throughout the song.  I don't know what Sokutuyoyo means, but I know what "Ke ma a ra, E ma a jo" means.  The pronounciation of that short section is significant because both BOUQUI and Henri Soul linger on the words for emphasis.  It caught my attention because the way those words are pronounced makes a difference in the meaning.  Okay, enough of your Yoruba 101 lesson and back to the rest of the review.

The chorus/hook is very simple and memorable.  With a mixture of both English and Yoruba, you won't have a hard time figuring out the message behind the song.  Skillfully weaving familiar hip-hop phrases that you'd remember from the 80s ("Too legit to quit") and popular praise and worship chorus snippets (E ma ba mi gbe gba ope o) makes for increased listener/audience participation in this performance.  BOUQUI's rap was good and Henri's part complimented it beautifully.  The songwriting was fine (for the verses), but as always, could be better.  There is nothing I would change in the chorus.

At 2:39, the length of this song is definitely a plus, encouraging multiple replays.  Henri Soul's vocals are good.  I detected some sort of vocal enhancement (not sure if it was auto-tune), but it did not deter the overall quality of the song.  It actually "enhanced" the song.  The parts where Henri Soul punctuates BOUQUI's rap with words like "O se" (Thank you) especially coupled with that reverb effect were some of the sweet high points of this song.  Clearly, the background vocals include both BOUQUI and Henri Soul and possibly some other person(s) and their harmony was really good.  They actually highlighted the pop factor of this song. The outro was perfect. And funny too.  Do I really need to say that this is a dance-able track? You should have figured that out by now!

Dislikes:  Frankly, the only thing I would want to see changed would be the songwriting for the rap section.  There were some rough edges there that could be smoother.

Recommendations:  The songwriting for the verses (rap) can be revised to make them even smoother and better.

Here is some more information on HenriSoul:

Artiste's Stage Name: HenriSoul (a.k.a Prince Gbagor)

Artiste's Real Name: Ifeanyichukwu Henry Orji

Place of Birth:  Abia State

Connect with Henrisoul: Facebook, Twitter

Have a great week!

Hmmm, I don't think it can be completely eradicated. Cos people will always feel the juniors should be initiated into the system. So far no one has died and there are no consequences, they will always continue
If there were dire consequences like there are in those mega rich private schools, no senior will ever try any nonsense

Ah, sexual abuse *sigh* i went to a girls school and i rembr the 1st time i saw girls going at it, i tot i was dreaming. I went to pee, came back and saw them still doing it. Thankfully, it was usually seniors doing their thing. The bullying tho was constant. I rember i grew some pseudo wings and i got punished a few times but i usually went reporting the vicious ones. My sister was more of the "no, don't report" type. I didn't like reporting too but how else am i to deal with some1 who gives lil me about 5 50litres jerry cans and countless empty buckets to fetch? or someone who collects my fancy slippers(u rembr dem?) and gives me her over-sized bathroom slippers with hole in it and punishes me for telling her i couldnt wear them? mba.

I met a boy at the hospital last week. A senior boy slapped him, rupturing his eardrums in the process and threatened him not to say a word to anyone. The said boy also kept mute until the mom noticed he was hearing and brought him to the hospital. That was when he spilled.

Personally, i think speaking up is very important cos the few times i was single-handely bullied, i spoke up. I was tiny but from the way i talked, i never want to mess with me [even tho they wuld have beaten me if they realized i could not fight :)]

After passing out of secondary school and seeing any of those seniors again, all I keep wondering is... "and if I had refused to kneel down nko?" I mean what would have happened. Worse they would all combinedly jump me but since most of the wahala was in private, truth is... NOTHING WOULD HAVE HAPPENED. Anyways though, I was definitely one of those who was called an 'ole' for not wanting to repunish juniors cos I was punished. The Naija system... it is well

In my boarding school, it was called cutting of tail. I think my set stopped it, or maybe it became a fringe thing after us, because so many of us were traumatized. We bore it that day but later revolted, there was a mini-war with the seniors. You see, my school then was SS1 - SS3, and it is done by the SS2 over the SS1 after the handover of prefectship from the outgoing SS3. I hope it stopped completely after us sha, but who knows? Traditions are so hard to break.

Why do you have to make me think too hard? Young lady.... lol. I have actually never looked at the Nigeria boarding house experience as “Oppression” or “Abuse”, for me, it was all part of a process. I was bullied lots in secondary school because I was young, naive and smaller than most. Yet, if I have the opportunity to go back to the past, I wouldn’t change anything about the experience. Secondary school played a significant role in the person I am today. That being said, the boys school stuff is disgusting..... I remember back then, I heard stories of how boys got electrocuted in FGC Ilorin and how a boy got locked in the locker and suffocated to death  L .

Atilola: So until someone dies, the cycle continues? I don't have figures or statistics to back this up, but I can bet you that this kind of bullying has directly or indirectly led to students' deaths.  Even a handful is still too much, in my opinion because it should not even be.  I want to be optimistic and say it CAN be completely eradicated, but the realist in me agrees with you.  So kids in rich private schools don't go through THIS type of bullying?  I am surprised to hear that.  

Toin: I almost wanted to ask you what "IT" was, but then I thought again and decided it would be in bad taste.  Plus, I have a good idea what it was. Eeeewwww! I went to an all girls' secondary school too, so all sorts of tales abound(ed).  LOL at reporting the seniors.  You were bold sha.  And they must have been very vicious.  I am racking my head for the fancy slippers o, but na only dunlop dey show for my mind.  5 50 litre jerry cans? One person? What did they take you for? Hulk Hogan's little sister? Hiss! I just never saw the point of all those forms of punishment, so I didn't do it to junior girls when my turn came.  

The story about the boy you told was just pathetic.  And yet, I have heard similar stories, even more serious ones. So he would not have spoken out but for his mum's observation.  What's his condition now?  And the senior boy nko? I try to imagine the force with which he would have to have hit that boy to burst his eyedrums.  Fear is what keeps this cycle going.  That's my conclusion. Getting students to speak up will help, like your own case illustrates.  LOL at them not wanting to mess with you.  I try to imagine you standing up to those seniors and them backing off.  That's what I call VICTORY!

Nollywood REinvented:  For real, pata-pata they would have jumped you, and you can see that in retrospect.  But back then, the fear of what they could possibly do to you kept you from rebelling.  I also did not punish juniors in my time.  I just didn't see the point, and I didn't have anyone call me "Ole" ... to my hearing, at least :-)

Myne:  Yes, traditions are hard to break, but it can be done.  I think parents are aware of SOME of these things, but feel it will help the child mature.  That's minus the sexual abuse, of course.  It's really just bullying, to put it simply.  Cutting of tail? Which tail were they cutting? Who begged them to cut tail? LOL! I get it and I would be happy to find out that it really ended with your set.  Chances are that it resurfaced under a different name, but with similar "characteristics."  I mean, there's really nothing new under the sun.  Mini-war with the seniors? Ah! See drama! *Where's my popcorn?* The way you described this as something done by those in SS2 to SS1 girls really just captures the essence of what a rite of passage is.  It's like there's a void that has to be filled, or else .... (fill in the gap)

9jaFoodie:  Ha ha! Sowwy now ... Oya rest your brain ... Listen to some music ... LOL! Hmmm, so you wouldn't change anything about your experience? Not even the bullying?  You must be pretty tough then cos I know some other folks would like to omit that bullying from their secondary school experience.  I think it is unncecessary and you can still learn important lessons without being subjected to it.  The boys' school stuff is disgusting, but it is quite rampant.  Electrocuted? Suffocated to death? My goodness! That's terrible! I mean, those boys did not even graduate, and yet that's why they were in school in the first place.  Because of what?  Abeg, it's not worth it at all.  


I would love to hear your thoughts. Please Share.

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