2023 Presec Bonfire Night - blog post - Peter's Box


Last updated on June 2nd, 2023 at 06:58 am

Did you happen to miss my previous post? You won’t want to miss it, I’m sure. It’s a three-part series about Comprehensive Sexuality Ignorance. If you haven’t read it, do so now.

Today’s post is blazing with flames! I’m going to give you a rundown of what happened during the 2023 Presec Bonfire Night. Let’s go!

The Entrance

The date was April 21, 2023. The day was Friday. It was a night to remember. Euphoria, memories, and the fragrance of high school flooded my mind. I arrived just in time to join the procession at my alma mater, Presbyterian Boys Secondary School, via its vibrantly coloured gates. I pondered what the night held for us as we awaited the order to advance through the school gate. The proud hands of former students from various years held lit metal and wood torches that surrounded me. The pockets of fire above our heads glowed in anticipation of the massive bonfire.

Presec Bonfire 2023 - ligtehed torches at main entrance

When the Odade3 fraternity president chanted, “Who dares go through the hallowed gates of the Ɔdadeɛ Fraternity. Gates of Presbyterian Boys Secondary School?”; in the cool of the night, adrenaline shot through our bodies. 

The soon-to-be Odade3s chanted, “We are the 2013 Year Group.”

The fraternity president continued, “By what right do you seek to enter our hallowed gates?”

The soon-to-be Odade3s chanted, “We of the Year Group 2013, having served our probationary period of 10 years by right, deserve to be included in the fraternity.”

Presec Bonfire 2023 - ligtehed torches at main entrance

Presec in their numbers

This bonfire will be remembered as the best in the school’s history since two-year groups (2012 and 2013) were admitted into the Ɔdadeɛ fraternity. In reality, we might say three-year groups. Due to COVID constraints, the 2012-year group didn’t have their induction and therefore joined this procession. Furthermore, the 2013-year group was made up of two-year groups that finished the same year. That was the year when Form 3 and Form 4 students took the same West African Examination Council’s WASSCE exam.

Ɔdadeɛ fraternity in bonfire procession

Other year groups were there to support the procession and bonfire night. I saw some old students wearing their year group T-shirts. Some read Ɔdadeɛ 77, 98, 14, and so on. The procession featured two brass bands. One in the front and one at the back. Students of Presbyterian Boys Secondary School marched alongside us among the music and drums! This was not only a celebration for old students. Friends of Presec also took part. In their lovely yellow t-shirts, our lovely old students from Aburi Girls Senior High School marched alongside us.

Presec @ 85

Contrary to popular belief, the bonfire night is not an isolated event. It is one of several activities planned as part of the school’s yearly anniversary celebration. The Jama Night took place the day before. There has been a variety of activities spaced out throughout the year, with at least one activity each month. Presec is celebrating its 85th anniversary this year.

Presec - 85th anniversary program lineup

The Bonfire March

I couldn’t help but look at the next building as we passed the administration block. The same hall where I sat every morning at assembly, singing the school hymn, which doubled as a chapel on Sundays and an entertainment venue on Saturday evenings. Its magnificence eluded me. The ruins of its four walls stared up at the sky. As an assembly hall, it was no longer in operation. A brand-new structure with more vibrant colors was nearby and located across the street. This structure was used as the new assembly hall. We walked right by it. And there was the enormous octagonal hall where we received breakfast, lunch, and dinner! Thinking it was time for supper, I almost entered the dining room. Onward, we marched.

Presecans marching past the old assembly hall
Presec Bonfire procession to the school park

I noticed that the school’s infirmary had been named Golden Jubilee Clinic. The atmosphere felt familiar. At the astroturf near the second gate on the University of Professional Studies road, the procession’s first leg came to an end. We retraced our steps back to the school park after approximately ten minutes of chatting with old faces and photographing those moments. The Ghana National Fire Service marched with the crowd the entire time to guarantee safety.

The bonfire blazes

People slipped through the school park’s gates in drones. It was a lovely sight to see. The crowd formed an arch around the heart of the night—the bonfire. The logs were piled high, rising from the base to an apex that was only a bit taller than the tallest person there that night. We sang the school anthem once more. Presec’s motto is “In Lumine Tuo Videmus Lumen,” which is Latin for “In thy light, we shall see light.” That night was indeed lit up in every way! I squeezed my way to the front. I didn’t want to miss out on any of the action. There were two inscriptions surrounding the pile, both reading 85. The 85 in the front was about ten times larger than the 85 on the right side of the bonfire.

Crowd congregates around Presec Bonfire
Big 85 lighted infront of bonfire

The bigger one was ignited first, followed by the smaller one. We had been waiting for this moment for a long time. One fire officer torched a ball of fabric on the end of a pole and dropped the flaming ball of fire in the midst of the pile. As soon as the fire ripped through the pile’s centre, a few things happened. Most noticeably, a wave of heat and a gentle boom spread out around it. Many of us shouted “Eiiiiiiii” in shock as we admired the incredible explosion of amber and red light engulfing the pile. We could feel the heat. The bonfire blazed all night as we enjoyed various performances on the ultramodern stage that was set up in the school park behind us.

Bonfire burning at Presec Bonfire Night
Bonfire ablaze at Presec Bonfire Night

Ɔdadeɛ Induction service

The global president of the Ɔdadeɛ fraternity formally opened the induction service by acknowledging the dignitaries present. Oh, goodie! I’m now going to be referred to as a “Ɔdadeɛ.” The global president requested that we raise our right hands and repeat after him.

“We the 2013 (and 2012) Year group do solemnly swear as members of the Ɔdadeɛ Fraternity to abide by the rules of the fraternity and conduct ourselves as worthy ambassadors of the fraternity knowing fully well we need to contribute to the development of the school and the fraternity. So help us God.”

Induction Service for 21013 and 2102 year group at Presec Bonfire 2023
Induction Service for 21013 and 2102 year group at Presec Bonfire 2023

We were welcomed to the alumni house and admitted as full members of the fraternity. After that, you should have seen me screaming the school anthem! Being within the Presec walls seemed like an eternity when we were in school. Now I am officially an Ɔdadeɛ.

Presec @ 85 - Bonfire Night Video

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Entertainment night

Who do you suppose was the DJ for the evening? Mr. Kwadwo Ampofo. He goes by the stage name DJ Black and is perhaps the busiest DJ in Ghana. DJ Black is a Joy FM radio host and the official DJ for the Vodafone Ghana Music Awards.

One of the MCs for the evening was Louis Kwame Sakyiamah, commonly known as Lexis Bill, a well-known Ghanaian radio and TV presenter! Oh boy! We had a good time! Artist after artist entertained us on stage. There were fireworks! Djay, DWP Academy, Yaw Grey, Eno Barony, King Promise, Amerado, Sarkodie, Tulenkey, GG Brass Band, Vanilla, Tsaqa, Dancegod Llyod, and KP performed for us. View excerpts of the various performances in the videos below.


Highlights of performances

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Djay performs Morning Stress

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After midnight, the night ended with more fire. Behind the cocktail booths and seating area, to the left of the stage (if you were in the audience), a string of fireworks was about to be set off. The fact that we all counted down from 10 added to the excitement.

10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 ….

The first fireworks burst into the air, painting the sky with lovely hues. One set was immediately followed by another, so that as soon as one set went off, another set did as well. It appeared as though the heavens were continuously applauding. It only went on for ten minutes, but it seemed like an eternity.

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Let me remind you that we’ll be fiercely defending our title as champions of the Ghana National Science and Math Quiz!

Odade3 for life!

All photo credits go to Stephen Amo Ofori of Creative Ofori and Emmanuel Obuobi Bekoe of Obe Photography.

What’s next in Peter’s Box? ¡Hasta luego amigos! 

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