Why does Casely Hayford Hall celebrate Refugee Week?
Refugee Week is celebrated by the affiliates of Casely Hayford Hall at the University of Cape Coast (UCC) in the first week of April annually to commemorate the evacuation of their predecessors from the hall in the 2008/2009 academic year under the Vice-chancellorship of Prof. Jane Opoku over several cases of violence believed to have been committed by them.
The Casely Hayford Hall, also known as Casford was closed down with the residents asked to vacate the premises of the hall prestissimo by noon, April 2, 2008, to ensure that the violence said to have been committed by them would not escalate to unimaginable proportion.
This directive from the Executive Committee of the Academic Board of the university was extremely unpalatable to the affiliates of the hall and they had to reluctantly vacate the hall to wherever they thought they could lay their heads.
Spending nights outside the hall subjected the “Fellows” as affiliates of the hall are being referred to, to both physical and emotional traumas.
The “Fellows,” just like refugees forced to leave their dear country for another country, resorted to lecture rooms to lay their heads over the remaining period of their evacuation from the hall, exposing them to the inhospitality of mosquitoes who welcomed them with their sharp proboscis.
The “Fellows” faced numerous intricacies with regard to survival. For instance, where to cook, where to have their shower, and many more were a great challenge. It was most certainly a pitiful moment. To be internally displaced in one’s own home is excruciatingly painful.
Affiliates of the hall, blessed with a great sense of history, annually recall the melancholic pains their predecessors underwent and lament over them for a week chanting, “Never again.”
The celebration, contrary to people’s belief, is not geared towards causing mischief but to caution all affiliates of the hall against violence or any outrageous acts which will make the residents suffer its undesirable effects or smirch the integrity of the hall.