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Articles on political and social issues in Cameroon, Africa and the world as seen by Njei Moses Timah > The Misadventure of Affe

17 Mar 2009

How Affe’s love overture to his teacher backfired

This is a true story of an event that transpired decades ago while I was still in secondary school. I have used pseudo-names for the characters mentioned in this article.

Our school was an all boys’ institution. As teenagers, we explored many things and exploited loopholes in the regulations and laxity in their enforcement to push the limits of our mischief to ever higher levels. Amongst those that were extremely daring and always at the cutting edge of new frontiers of mischief was one of my classmates Affe.

One day, Affe told three of us that he was particularly interested in one of our female teachers and he was planning to approach her and make his amorous inclinations known. We were somehow alarmed at Affe’s intention to embark on such a ‘suicidal’ mission, but we never -the -less cheered him for his courage. Even though his chances were slim, we still thought that if he did succeed, it will be very interesting gossip that will entertain us for a long time. Affe was about sixteen and was in class three while our teacher Mumri was between 25 and 30.

One week-end, Affe told the three of us that he was dodging from the dormitory to go for the promised mission. This was a top secret mission whose knowledge had to remain within our restricted group. In our class, we used to refer to restricted information as “files”. We hailed Affe and told him that we are anxiously waiting for the ‘files’ in the evening. Affe’s ability to make himself ‘high’ and become bold was not in doubt. We waited anxiously for Affe’s return as a child will wait for a mother that went to the market and promised to return with a cake or ice cream. When Affe eventually came back, we shuffled him to a corner and asked him to release the ‘files’. A less than upbeat Affe told us that he got to Mumri’s house, was well received but he could not muster courage to say a thing about his mission. “You are a mean man”. One of our friends said. “You have low skills”. Another added. Affe apologized for his shortcomings and promised to repair the damage during his next trip.

About a month later, Affe gathered the three of us and announced that he was making his decisive move. As usual we cheered his departure to Mumri’s house and waited for the ‘files’ in the evening. When he returned, he told us how Mumri guessed that he had something to tell her but was apparently shy. “She gave me some food to eat and after, she told me that she knows that I want to tell her something but I seem do not have the courage to say it”. Affe told us how he accepted her proposal to put his message in writing. “After reading what I wrote, she smiled and told me to go and wait for a favourable response”. This declaration from Affe kept our small brains wondering what next.

It was not long before Affe’s name appeared on the notice board amongst about a dozen students that had to appear before the school’s disciplinary council for unnamed offences. Of all possible reasons Affe thought he could be invited to the Disciplinary council, his love request to Mumri was a distant last. It was no secret that he had broken many rules laid down by the school and he could be invited to answer to any one of them.

As Affe explained to us later about his encounter in the disciplinary council, “When my name was called, I entered the hall and was told to stand in front of the members of the disciplinary council”. He continued, “The school principal read out the charge thus:  Mr Affe, are you the one that writes love letters to your teachers?” Affe told us how the charge hit him as a bomb amidst the roar and laughter in the disciplinary council. He said that he felt as if the earth should open so that he can disappear as the content of his letter to Mumri was read aloud to members of the disciplinary council. At the end, Affe was suspended from school for one month.

The most difficult problem for Affe was how to face Mumri after his suspension because there was no way he could avoid her courses. There is a character named Jones in George Orwell’s book The Animal Farm that the animals feared.  Anytime that Mumri was to give a lecture we routinely reminded Affe that his ‘Jones’ was coming. Whenever Mumri entered the class, Affe kept his head bent and remained permanently looking downwards to avoid eye contact with his ‘Jones’.

It was indeed a very expensive misadventure for Affe and he had a lot of regrets for it.

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Njei Moses Timah