24 November 2007
The 50th anniversary of Ghana's independence is also Commonwealth Hall's 50th year. The Vandal City, as Commonwealth is dubbed, is renowned for the spirit and enthusiasm of its residents. I experienced this during my year at the University of Ghana. My hallmates (V-Mates) had initiations for freshmen (and foreign students), pre-dawn route marches around campus, weekly debates on the hall steps, and an annual hall week replete with school boy, traditional wear and crossdressing days.
For all the shenanigans, the Vandals are by and large excellent students. The hall is held in such regard that their Jubilee Durbar was attended by John Kufuor, the president of Ghana, among other luminaries.
While visiting an old friend (and Old Vandal) in Winneba, we came across a television programme on the history of Commonwealth and the ethos of Vandalism. Although not a very incisive look (it was funded by an Old Vandal), the show had some fun reminders, such as that the other residence halls are referred to as "the colonies." When I visited there I was uniformly greeted with shouts of V-Mate! and got to see that the spirit is still strong. The hall is actually in fairly good condition, although the old problems remain (the water wasn't on that day). It was fun to get back and reminisce about the days there, the closest I got to fraternity living.