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Opinions of Thursday, 1 April 2021

Columnist: Mawuli Zogbenu

Useless Column: April Fools’ fufu jollof

Ao death is wicked o. Every year the first person I made fun of and asked why he was born on 1st April was Mr Edward Amuh. He was my first Boss in the Insurance Industry but today 1st April, 2020 which would have been his 59th birthday, I couldn’t wish him because he is no more! Death er, hmmm!

Today marks exactly 27 years of what happened to me at the secondary school inside the Achimota forest which had green dredlocks all over the trees. Unlike now that the green dredlocks are no more because of encroachment on the school land and the proliferation of those small small churches all over the place. Come to think of pranks of ‘April Fool’ those days in Achimota, my name often came into sharp focus and I almost invariably succeeded in victimising my colleagues and even some Tutors.

Anytime April 1st approached I would quickly plan a prank ahead of time but would not even talk about it as if I had forgotten about the ‘Silent Half-Day Festival’. You know that kind of serious look you put on your face when you are with your wife and you see a pretty lady passing as if you no lak am…. ehern, that one some! Some of my mates who fell victim to my pranks in the past would not want to get close to me on the eve of April 1st but would often forget before I get them in my snare again.

Never did it occur to me that one of my closest friends and victims, Kwaku Abban had also carefully planned the next one together with some ‘accomplices’ to pay me back in a grand style before I completed school that year.

It was one fine morning and we were preparing to write our mock exams the following week. Kwaku Abban came to my dorm with a cloth that was familiar; apparently it belonged to my mother. I was taken aback. My instincts were triggered. It is worthy to note that Kwaku and I were neighbours at Zongo Junction, Madina.

For a moment, I was confused but tried in a few seconds, albeit in futility, to regain my composure. Panting, he handed me the cloth and here was the message from Kwaku: “I went home early this morning for money from my Dad and saw your mother being rushed to the hospital in a taxi. This cloth I supposed is your mum’s fell off without their knowledge and so I decided to pick it up and let you have it and possibly find out what was happening”. I nearly collapsed!

There was nothing like a mobile phone then to even check from whoever. Convinced it was for my Mum, I picked it up and quickly dashed for Korle-Bu without knowing the hospital or health centre in question.

I got to Korle-Bu Polyclinic and headed for the nearest ward and this was the silly question I asked one of the nurses “I am looking for my mother who was rushed here some two hours ago, have you seen her please?” In a confused state I even forgot to mention what her name was but eventually got the name for her. She quickly checked from the records and Daa Minawo’s name was nowhere to be found. She then advised me to check from the nearest hospital. It was then I remembered to go to our regular hospital, Ridge. On meeting the nurse on duty at the entrance to the emergency wards, I asked another silly question in a similar fashion. The answer she gave me stupefied me but never gave me the slightest hint it I was being tricked into an ‘April Fools’ day prank.

I had no other option but to rush home to ascertain what was happening. I got home only to see my Mum pounding fufu with light soup on fire. Wow! What a dream! “Could it be that I had been fooled, or maybe she has been treated and discharged and only recuperating fast?”, I asked and consoled myself (quietly).

“Oh Fowofo, you are home, how is the rehearsal going?”, she asked and I was wondering what kind of rehearsal she was talking about. She explained that ‘Kwaku came home to say you sent him to come for a particular cloth for you to rehearse with towards your school’s founders’ day celebration cultural durbar and I picked this nice one for you’. Of course she didn’t understand my sudden change in countenance.

Immediately it occurred to me it was April 1st. But it was already 10.45am and I had only a few months to leave the walls of the school. I was wondering whether there could be another opportunity to outwit my buddy-buddy’s prank on me. I didn’t utter a word even though my mum insisted I ate the fufu with tegli soup. (‘Tegli’ is the Ewe name for the bird, partridge with the looks of a ‘guinea fowl’).

I went back to school since my house was quite close to the school. On reaching the boarding house, all the boys led by my house master, ‘high-handed Woover’, a one-time victim of my April Fool pranks, started giggling and laughing uncontrollably.

“Oh Mawuli we are sure from today onwards you would not try April Fool on any body in this school or elsewhere again”. I only heard Kwaku in the background sarcastically playing ampe with Asuo, another victim of mine just to welcome me back from my ‘trip’. I lost energy and the thought that I could further suffer a punishment for leaving the school without exeat further worried me.

As I thought of which other opportunity would present itself for me to revenge, I was reminded by myself that that was my last April in the school and could therefore not beat this Kwaku Abban’s record.

But trust me I unleashed more than this at the university and with some of my victims having to travel long distances they never believed they could go particularly those who liked girls and had to travel from Legon to Tek on April 1st only to realise they have been hoaxed!

Ghana people, beware of April 1, 2022, God willing. When I send you a message informing you that there is an aeroplane looking for people to carry to America to work in an oil and gas firm, wouldn’t you go?

Fear me o! Hahaaaa! Happy Easter to us all. COVID is still around looking for partying people and people who don’t wear face masks. Be careful!

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