The worrying state of indiscipline among high school students in Kenya was recently highlighted after a clip of Ambira High School learners insulting government officials emerged online.

The students hurled insults at Cabinet Secretaries Amina Mohammed and Dr Fred Matiang’i, drawing fury from Kenyans including President Uhuru.

The clip was recorded by the students themselves as they participated in a popular high school ritual, locally known as an Academic bonfire, after clearing their KSCE examinations.

Academic bonfires mostly involve burning of books to celebrate the end of high school education.

Local publication SDE spoke to some local entertainers who participated in an academic bonfire and this is what they had to say.

Dr Ofweneke, comedian

“Burning of books was a planned ritual, I remember we burnt books and after we were done we got the school’s pig in the agriculture section and we also roasted and ate it.”  

We only torched exercise books – Prof Hamo, comedian

“Academic fire was not a big deal. We burnt books but ours wasn’t that elaborated because it was only exercise books plus it was a day school so I burned mine with close pals. After dealing with eight subjects, it was time to be done with high school.”

We planned to beat hated teacher – Mc Antonio

“My classmates planned to beat the most hated teacher but the head teacher got wind of it and called the police the night before we went home. We were beaten and instructed to come with our parents when clearing.”

We had dinner with principal – Jemutai, comedian

“We wanted to have the academic bonfire but our principal refused and told us to reserve the books for the next generation of students so we had dinner with him the evening before we left for home.”

We climbed Mt Kenya – Cynthia Njuguna, businesswoman

“Just before we sat our final exams at Mt Kenya Senior School, we went for a trip to climb Mt Kenya and create lasting memories.

We played against teachers – Irene Wanja, marketing manager

“At Greensteads International School, we had dinner just before I did my O and A levels exams. We also had a sports day where teachers played against the students. We signed our friend’s T-shirts and while some students burned their book and uniforms in secret.”