From what I can recall, the first person to buy a tv set in my village was Pa Mejame. Back then in the 90s and early 2000s, having a television set in my village, Babubock meant only one thing; you are a rich person. I can’t count how many times my siblings and myself knelt to beg my father to buy us a tv after seeing it in our friend’s house. He kept on saying there was no money.
Who brought the first tv to my village?
That was after this “Rich Man”, Pa Mejame Gabriel came in with a set of big drums (speakers) and a box that got a mirror at the front (television). There was another amongst the set that made a lot of noise and was always kept behind the house (generator). The noise of this one always called our attention that he was about to put the TV on.
Pa Mejame Gabriel was a farmer like any other parent in the village. I don’t know where he got the idea of buying a TV from. He made me see a TV set even before leaving the village, I knew what other places looked like because of him. However, our mothers burnt their pots and didn’t give us food on time because of it too.
Immediately we got the noise of the generator, we would abandon all that we were doing and rush to take our positions inside his house on the bare ground. From the day pa Mejame bought that tv set to the day he built a cinema hall, he had never had a quiet moment with his family. The new bedtime was 3 AM.
Babubock people always gathered at his place when they heard him start the generator. Parents brought their chairs from their house while we the children sat on the ground looking so white and dirty. Some of our mothers abandoned their pots on the fire while the children didn’t bother to open their books again.
You needed to hear their discussions at that time. The way your friend will explain that exciting “Aki a pawpaw” scene to you eehh, you will feel like you were not watching too. They will add Maggi, salt, pepper and even oil. Chaiiii
How he made money from it.
Pa mejame opened a cinema hall when he saw the influx of the whole village in his house every day the tv was on. Some of us did not stay in our houses again. Even food, we didn’t wait for it to get ready before running to the film hall.
On Sundays and market days, he would advertise the films for that evening on a notice board in front of his house; he would put the back of the cassette carrying the pics of the film on the transparent notice board, then write the time each was supposed to begin. This meant everyone should start preparing their gate fee.
Every interested person passed by on their way to the market/church to check what was on the menu. I remember most of them loved films like “Last Burial, State of Emergency, Aki a paw, Issakaba” etc.
And when they heard the sound of the generator in the evening, adults came with their 300frs, youths 200frs and children 100frs. what happened to those who didn’t have? They remained outside. I was always among them. hahaha. We would beg and beg to enter, but the gateman won’t allow us to enter.
Thank God the cinema hall was built with thatches, though he later built it with planks. We made holes from outside to peep from. It was always a long line; more than 10 people behind one hole and we took turns to watch.
We always took turns when Aki and Pawpaw are going to steal meat from the pot and their mom wants to catch them. That sound, oh! we used to love it. Or when the ritualists want to sacrifice their gift to their god. You would hear us fighting;
Di man shift nor, no be you don look pass all man? shift make another person look small. you get dorty fashion. Next time we no go grin say make you follow us.
This always resulted in fights. Then that grand Frere will just appear from nowhere and dish out some knocks on our heads. Till date, I have figured out how we were disturbing some of these guys. They just found pleasure in beating us. Did you also have those kind of people around you?
“Ei go think say na for dey our film-watching don end for that evening”. We would go home grumbling after driving us but we come back after 5minutes. Hahahahaha. This time changing the positions of the peeping. It was also time to make friends with the children of the tv owner.
No make friend nor if you go enter. Them to be di behave like say they don arrive. them go high sotey them high on top man ei tin. If you no give them ya tin na you know. payback di ever be na for the evening”.
I went to the village lately and I met our cinema hall in ruins. The sight of it brought back all those times we used to save up to pay gate fee and watch movies. Notice the window hanging there, we used to peep there too.
I also met Pa Gabriel Mejame and we laughed about how he used to ask people to pay the gate fee. He doesn’t have a film hall again. With the coming of TV sets to almost all the houses, he cannot leave the fee on them. Having a TV set is no longer a rich man thing.
These memories are sweet because we had them during our childhood. When I think of how we used to hide behind the house to just to see a particular scene, I laugh about it and enjoy.
Who was the first person to buy a television in your village? Tell us in the comments section.