Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Reliving InterCo through Old School Gyama Songs

I know i'm always going on and on about how I didn't enjoy secondary school, and how I wish I'd gotten so much more out of the experience. But there is one aspect of life in secondary school that I can't get over. That I absolutely loved, and that I keep remembering.


Back in the day, I was an athlete. Not a fantastic athlete but an athlete nonetheless. Which means I got to go to all the InterCo, and Super-Zonals and Regionals. I even got to go to GSTS one time and saw my oldest friend, Acidic. Best fun ever.

One of the great things about interco is that it came with the chance to see the Cape school boys. Adisco, Augusco, Kwabotwe and all the others. Which was awesome. I mean, which gey hey girl didn't want to see boys!? Even if they were only chop-box boys as we used to call them in those days. My fondest memory of those times is of abandoning the Gey Hey squad to go shee gyama with the Augusco boys. Gosh, what fun!

I remember feeling so gbesh all dressed up in the athletic jerseys, powdered faces, reeking of cheap perfume, and scarfing my hair with bandanas from Kwabotwe. In 1999, bandanas were the in thing. If a guy wanted to speak with a girl, all he had to do was offer a bandana. I had Kwabotwe, Augusco and Adisco bandanas but I loved to wear the Kwabotwe one the best because together with the yellow and green from Gey hey, it was like being draped with our national colors.

Now a big part of InterCo is the gyama that goes with it. And I wasn't part of the gyama squad (yes, people, gey hey had a gyama squad), but I was always excited to join in the fun.

Even had favorites.

So here are two of my favorites.

1. What a mighty school gey hey
What a mighty school gey hey
Holy bow before us
Kwabotwe adore us
What a mighty school gey hey

2. Augusco w’a we o
Augusco w’a we o
Kwabotwe w’edi first
Adisco w’edi second
Augusco w’awe o

Here's the translation for the non-twi speakers.

Augusco placed last
Augusco placed last
Kwabotwe placed first
Adisco placed second
Augusco placed last.

I know y'all are dying to come out with your interco stories and favorite gyama songs and how Motowners pose like they're dadabee and all, so go crazy:) *rubs hands in glee*

Adisco, you there? Augusco, Odadees, Accra Aca, Rosec, HolyCo, ManSite, Abugiss, Motown, Pojoss, Amanfoo, Labone, RONEDROSS, Kwabotwe, St Louis, Opoku Ware, GSTS, Swesco, Winnesec, Apam Secondary, Likpe Secondary, Fiasec, Bogoso Secondary, Kumasi High, HotCass, Ketasco, Tadisco, Mawuli, St Francis Xavier, Petersco, HEPPS, BIHECO, St. Pauls, Kimbu, Agiss, Merries, Gey Hey, Akosec, Porter Girls, Ola, SOS-HGIC, Tarsco, GIS, Tamasco, Lincoln, St Johns, Osu Presec, Ghanass, Wenchi Secondary, Koforidua Sec Tech, O'Reilly, Where you at? Come out with your Gyama!

ps: Is it true that in Motown, only the kamkpe girls did athletics? Like say, pɛkyɛɛpɛ (aka dadabee) girls would never run or play hockey or so anything physical? Ei peoples!

photo: me in a gyama moment at Ashale-Botwe after the Ghana-US game, Summer 2006.


  1. One of the biggest things that most U.S schools are lacking is the intense and great rivalry of the ghana schools. Yes, we have Michigan and Ohio State, Florida and Miami, etc but there is absolutely no comparison. I was too scrawny and weak to be on the sports teams but had the privilege to be a “school dancer” and a prominent member of the gyama squad. Win or lose in the actual competition, our goal was to “burn”(embarrass) the other school with songs and outrageous gestures. I remember Adisadel coming to swesco for an event and trying to flex. We chased them out with 5 days old kenkey balls and infested waters filled with whatever in buckets. Back to the subject, my favorite gyama song was asikopampana sikopaa wolebo eeeyyyy(not sure exactly what it all means but very catchy).

  2. No you didn't! Putting Motown on the spot like that? You know Motown is the best school in the whole wide world. And If you don't know now you know. (Thanks B.I.G)
    Forget what you heard. Motown had hot female athletes when I was there (fyi, I have good taste in women). And Motown jama wasn't weak but we would rather be quiet than taunt schools like WASS where their average high-school age was 26.
    What school is RO-NE-DROSS anyway?
    My favorite jama song; "We shall score you, we shall put pepper in your eyes. we shall score you". My keyboard is PG13 so I can't type the crass Motown jama songs; "Araba toto" etc.

  3. lol, Mike. That made me laugh. Ah, i was trying so hard to remember WASS, but i kept asking everyone about that big school in Madina and no one at my workplace knew. lol. Good to hear that Motowners too can shee jama.

    For your information, RONEDROSS stands for Royal New Drobo Secondary School.

    lol @ Araba toto. No need to hear the rest. Just the two words are enough to make me laugh out loud.

    @Nana, so Swesco shy-ed Adisco huh? Meanwhile in Cape, they were doing mouth mouth o. More respect to Swesco. What year were you there? I visited sometime in the late 90s.

  4. Oh yeah Esi, Adisco bowed down to us fast. I was there from 89 to 94(form 1 to 5). Remember, it was filled with the best transplants from the so called "top schools" in Ghana, myself included from motown

  5. Ahhh.. Inter-co! Some of the best times. Fondest memories...the actions that led us (adisco boys) being removed from the zone that contained botwe, gey hey, augusco etc.. Serious gyama up the botwe stairs into the school and destroying everything in sight all the way to the kotokuraba gate. It was lots of fun!

  6. I am not sure if anyone has done a blog on nicknames and meanings in the high schools. My school fathers name was peacemaker, his friends names were as follows: James bond, mogya, Ninja and ashewoo now you can make your own assumptions. He literally looked just as old as my father and used to bring me with him to a palm wine joint in the woods before interco. The bonding experience with this crew was priceless.

  7. I'm sorry, I went to Motown and I dont ONCE remember anyone shiiii-ing jama. Esi youre right, everybody wanted to act all extra dadabee. I dont even think people knew words to any type of jama. lolololol. We would just stand there idle and just act super uninterested----- at least during my time. Ei motowners!

    Truth be told, I listen to all my friends who went to gey hey and a part of me wish I went there. lolol. But motown was aight. Had its highs and lows like any other school I guess.

  8. Thanks for this post Esi. The only Old School Reunion I attended was in 2004 and I wish I can go again soon. One should be organized in the US.

  9. The St Merry's girls claimed Accra Aca as their boys and the Accra Girls were the pretenders so the Bleo/Merries (Acasma) used to get together to sing this:

    Girls: Merries duna bɔdɔɔ 5x
    Boys: Agiss duna kpenkpen 5x
    Girls: Meries duna..
    Boys: Bɔdɔɔ 3x
    Girls: Agiss duna...
    Boys: Kpenkpen!

    This was super organised choir-type stuff.

  10. Esi, I think athletics was reserved for the "kpe" or "kankpe" girls. The closest a dada bi girl could get to athletics was B-ball. or baseball which got inrtoduced after my age. lol

  11. Oh, I feel I have to defend the motowners here. I don't know about InterCo gyama but for inter houses we definitely had gyama. In fact, my sister and I had to teach the younger generation some gyama songs on a recent youth trip to tills beach resort :-)

    Examples of gyama that Kingsly house used to do:-
    1. Kingsly house girls (2x) na mo wo hen (2x)? Yaa ba, ye nie, yaa ba ye nie ooo. yE kO ba bi anaa ...
    2. Mendjorle mm aah... mendjorle te abrokyi ei ah, sumO djorle me be o baa ba ei...
    3. adjei (6x) gbeke bibio twa ball nE kE

    I have many more up my sleeve (including some abrofolised ones) Ask and you shall receive.

    Regarding the kankpe girls doing sports.. I think it was generally true, but they were definite exceptions like my dear older sister who was in the football team :-)

    Adwoa P.

  12. Hmmm, Esi, I was in holy child and I must admit the jama squad rocked.. We even set aside time to learn new jama songs, had a jama leader who even recruited.. My fav jama song was, yeye dada mma yenye mponko, (we are dadabi not horses )whenever we lost to gey hey. And we would pull out our Chinese fans, fan ourselves with our right hands whilst blowing air to dry our make-believe nail varnish from our left hand nails..That just made gey hey girls seep with outrage.. lol. Jama was a big thing in the cape school, I think we had more fun jeering than the games itself... and I remember introducing it to my uni mates in England they loved the concept so much that eventually the cheerleading squad became a jama squad cultivating different styles of jeers and cheers very lively, heavily influenced by the Africans...... it was soooo cool.. Occasionally the obronis would join in the clapping and chanting. As for Motowners dea trust me they do not know the A-Z of shieing jama.

  13. Nasa, if motowners didn't shii jama during athletics, it was because the girls were actually busy air-drying nail varnish and not doing any make-blieve stuff like Holyco girls.
    (I will be here all day yobbing about Motown till someone from WASS shows up! They scare us!)

  14. Yo, y'all need to give us Motowners some more credit here! Personally I knew no jama until I set foot upon the "Grey city of the outlaws hill". Haha...wonder how many eyeballs I got rolling with that one.

    Anyhoo, was never at an Interco but I must say that Inter Houses rocked! My house, Kingsley along with Maca were among the best jama singers in my time, closely chasing House 17. This was probably because Hs 17 had the best athletes and would win so often that their zest to jest was continuous. Speaking of which (ie. hs 17) there might actually be some correlation between kankpe-ism and athletism after all (yup still nursing some sour grapes).

    So, I wanted to highlight a pretensious jama song we used to sing when we lost once too often and morale in our camp was low:

    Call: What are we doing?
    Response: We are resting.
    Call: What are we doing?
    Response: We juuuuusst dey chok!

    (More like we juuuust dey SUCK!)

    And this to psyche out the competition:

    Makwan mu (3x), Makwan mu
    OwO Slessor House
    O san wO Science II
    Mo mma ne kwan, mo mma ne kwan
    Ni ti su, Ni ti su ooooo (with appropriately offensive actions for illustration)

    More props on the blog! Me likey!

  15. Accra Aca-demy our pride
    The school of no regrets,
    In here our little minds were shaped
    To serve our nation great

    Oh Lord to thee we dedicate
    Accra Academy
    Esse Quam Videri we say
    And Bleoo Accra (with arms raised) heeeeeeeeeeeeeeyyyy!!

    I was sitting semi bored in a lecture yesterday when i decided to check what you have been up to on your blog. (I have bookmarked your blog on my phone!)
    So I log on, and after reading this post, i laugh so hard, my colleauges, suspeceted something had entered my head.
    Anyway great piece there this one, I must admit I haven't been writing for sometime, school and production busy. got it? In any case, I wasn't born holding a keyboard like some of you. lol!
    To the topic on board, really brings me to the good ol' days. WHO never liked inter-co? we did not go to inter-co for the games, no, that was secondary matter. It was the jama, the girls :), and then games. we (Accra Aca boys) used to enter the premises singing(or should I say chanting) our sig tune
    Y3 asan aba bioooooo
    y3 asan aba bioooooo
    y3 asan aba bioooooo
    Accra Aca y3 asan aba bioom

    Nobody told me, but I knew the other school knew trouble had arrived whenever they heard this tune! Then we would go round the stadium, and take acknowledgements (and insults) from the haters! then we would find our girls (MERRIES) and sit by them. damn, we were gentlemen! we would sing the inter-co version of our school anthem (which begins this comment), then start our jama. we were numero uno! no school came close, they know it. they just won't accept that fact. i was the school's jama captain by then (can u imagine?)
    It was great. very great. I remember one song we used to sing, and all Accra Aca guys can identify this one,

    i give my life to Accra Aca
    The school which I love,
    i tell my mother that,
    she will see me no more,
    If I die in Accra Aca, I die in B3L3OO
    Every Academician is fighting for his life!

    Then there was this one...

    Accra Aca no tension,
    We are winning, by the grace of God,
    We are hey, we are hey, we are hey,
    shabo shabo eee dawadawa!

    Anyway, I'm quite amazed you run for your school. Did you win any race? Or you just broke your hynmen running? lol!


  16. Nii Saki, your comment made me laugh out loud especially the hymen bit. I remember how people used to say if you do sports, your hymen will break. I assure you, mine didn't. Wo pe se wo bisa asem a, go straight to the point. eh? aden na wo de ko nwonwai? Reminds me of Lord Kenya's song. Mr. POP.

  17. Oh and I wasn't any good at the inter-colleges level but i won the prefects race in gey hey inter-houses as well as the 3000 meters long distance race. Does that count?

  18. Gotsa rep for Sianoland...No be Cape den Ga pe the schools dey...
    On arrival at the K'si stadium, we'd break out into:
    Aaa aaa (8X) - (with melodic variation)
    Afei na yaba oooo....PREMPEH!
    Wommo ose (8x) - (again, with croaky, adolescent melodic variations)
    Afei na yaba oooo....PREMPEH!
    Especially as you be Form 1 boy, your head dey swell gidigidi...u know say u dey rep your school, wey u for show everybody say you (we) better than OWASS in all

  19. +1 on the Motown inter-houses gyama. With so many houses, each with their own character, it was pretty easy to come up with very clever (and often times quite crass) tunes that hit close to home. It's funny how I only mostly remember the really profane ones. Slessor House girls got it the worst in my day, but they certainly gave back as good as they got! Here's one that's not too far out (to the tune of that nice Sunday School song "Running Over"):

    Running stomach, running stomach
    Slessor House is full of running stomachs
    When they shit putoplu
    In the morning mm mm
    Slessor House is full of running stomachs

    There was a response:

    Constipation, Constipation
    {Offending House} is full of constipation
    When they shit nothing comes
    In the evening mm aah
    {Offending House} is full of constipation


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  21. lol at Mr POP. Never mind, u know me, just asking ;). and oh, winning a prefects race in GEY HEY is easy, all you have to do is walk faster. lol. it does not count!

  22. I went to SOS and I don't remember us ever sheeing jama(at least during my time). I remember however some sort of chant that our vice-principal made us go along with.(I think it was once only) As embarrasing as it may sound, and some of you might have heard it, here it goes: PARACETAMOL, ARACETAMOL, RACETAMOL etc until we got to L. *hanging my head in shame* haha

  23. for real? kekeli. PARACETAMOL? haha. Poor you. hehe. I sure hope you got some perks to compensate for being deprived of jama. Like maybe a swimming pool or somtin.

    Hopefully things have improved now and the kids are getting some proper jama as part of the educational mix.

  24. i never went for InterCo in motown. i remember it was a really huge deal and u had to be friends or pretend to be with the sports pee to get a place on the bus. i think it's because most pple took the opportunity to go home.

    but our interhouses competition were the best ever. it was like 14 different schools rather than houses of the same school. we used to pair up with the boys and we used to shieee jama like crazy.

    i was in kingsley house and we would gather after prep a wk before the competition to learn and rehearse jama songs....

    one of my favourites which was unique to my house and quite 'brofolized' was...

    Don't mess!
    Don't mess!
    Don't mess with the best cos the best don't mess
    don't fool with the cool cos the cool don't fool
    with nobody else 2x
    we like to smile in style and do the things we do
    we like to party so hearty
    but we don't party with u NO,NO, NO
    we don't party with u, NO!!!

    Adjoa L.

  25. Jama at Motown was relative.They never made people go to interco unless u were an athlete or 'papped' like me. I never missed an Interco during all my years at Motown. I just joined the Bleoo boys sake of my brother and friends went there and the jama was on. Of course my schoolwork suffered for it lol.

    Inter houses was a different affair. Jama be what? a Fraser house jama paa....with Otsee and co wasn't easy. Fave was:
    Miy3 obunbua ni mintumi nanti
    Miye onifra ni meni hu adie
    Na m3y3 den na ma ko Canaan
    Mey3 den na ma ko Canaan
    Chorus Canaan (3x)

    There were food fights at the D-hall after interhouses in Motown...don't even bring ur body plus the dadabe ish.