Many of us associate it with primary and secondary schools (at least we who haven’t been to international schools) and are quick to kick it out off the menu immediately we get into university. What was the once staple food of school goers becomes a one night ritual for the Makerere University students at ‘The Porridge Night’.
The slide back in time is always a night filled with a treat on different flavours of music and porridge. The Porridge Night craze was a tradition exclusive to students residing in university halls but unsurprisingly, the hostels around the university have picked up the craze too.
The practices in the porridge night rituals actually vary with each hall and hostel. The gentle men of Livingstone Hall always have their craze with the ladies from Africa Hall as they chew some nyama choma (roasted meat). They party in the hall grounds and off course get to mix up and interact as far as the alcohol can allow.
The adventurous men of Lumumba Hall have a do with the spontaneous Mary Stuart Hall girls. The gallant rats of ‘Mitchel Hall’ have theirs with the crocodiles from Complex Hall. The University Hall (UH) take it all the way to Garden Courts Hostel in Kikoni. The Northcote State Hostel are always excited to do it again with the girls from Apex Hostel.
The porridge is usually served in different flavours with a choice between bushera (millet flour porridge) and maize flour.
In Nalika Hostel, bread is served along side the porridge. The other refreshments from the brewery companies are not illegal though. Actually, they literally are responsible for the craze that compliments the live Dj mixes from the djs. If one has never experienced the bull dance, porridge nights are always the perfect time to catch up on the feel. As the party moment for hall students stops at midnight, that for hostel student goes on until everyone drops. Movies at times play the tail part of the bliss.
The Baskon Hostel occupants recently treated them selves to a VJ Junior movie to sum up this semester’s Porridge Night.
However, it is so unfortunate that such overly reaching levels of fun seem to be a turn off to most of the ladies. The porridge nights need a certain level of curiosity and out going spirit that seems never to be aroused in the ladies of the great Makerere hill. Even the free alcohol, nyoma choma and cinematic experience that usually are ladies’ weak points seem not to work as only a handful usually turn up. Maybe their tastes have to be considered since the event organisers are usually male.
Although the culture seems to be slowly dying out, it forms part of the Great hill experiences any Makerere student cannot graduate without talking about. You haven’t seen it all until you put a porridge night as part of your crazy accomplishments.
Written by Kitimbo Victor Andrew (2nd year Law Student at Makerere University)