Thursday, September 17, 2009

Bwana, Bwana

My friend, Paul, recently reminded me an old cheer that we used to do at Bellarmine.  When I was a freshman back in 1976, we all had to learn this cheer as part of our indoctrination.  If I remember correctly, a crazy cheerleader named Damien taught it to a group of us.  I never knew exactly what it meant, but it sounded African to me.  I assume it's one of those tribal traditions that's primarily intended to perplex outsiders.

Cheerleader: Bwana, Bwana 
Crowd: Simba 
Cheerleader: Bwana, Bwana 
Crowd: Simba 
All: Sooey, Sooey, uh uh uh. 

My father (class of '57) says he didn't remember it.  I asked Paul what if he knew the history of the cheer. He has some good theories, but he's going to do some more research and publish an article in the alumni magazine so I won't steal his thunder.

The important thing is that next time someone googles "Bwana, Bwana", they'll find something useful!

4 comments:

Mark said...

I went to McQuaid in Rochester NY. Our cheer was...
Cheerleader: Bwana, Bwana
Crowd: Simba
Cheerleader: Bwana, Bwana
Crowd: Simba
Cheerleader: Bwana Beese
Crowd: Uh!
Cheerleader:Bwana Besse
Crowd: Uh!
All: Sooey, Sooey, Sooey

NO IDEA OF ORIGIN. But in this politically correct world, we heard the cheer has been shut down.

Mark said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
sd said...

Mcq class of 2012. It's my honor to tell you that tge simba cheer is still our #1 cheer. If they tried to stop it they'd have a riot on their hands. Ps sausagefest and senior smoke day are still alive too

beaumont said...

When I was an 8th grader at McQuaid in 81-81, The cheer was created by the seniors. THere was some secret meaning, but I don't know what it was. At the time, the seniors had their own "lounge" in the cafeteria which I think was dismantled when they found a bunch of empty beer cans stashed in the wall.

At that time we also had huge fist fights with the city teams at most basketball games. As a result spectators were banned. We developed a male cheerleading squad that came out is overcoats with only underwear and socks on underneath. I think they did it just to get into the games, but they also made fun of the City school chearleaders.

I recall the cheer a tad differently:

CL: bwana bwana!
crowd: SIMBA!
CL: bwana bwana!
crowd: SIMBA!
CL: ba-non-ee!
Crowd UH!
CL: ba-non-ee!
Crowd: UH!
all (softly) sooey-sooey-sooey-sue.

The last part was done so that it faded out and sounded like rustling leaves.

I could be wrong, but I think the main idea here was to create something completely nonsensicle. All of the McQ "cheerleader" performances were farce. Pyramids that didn't stand, human bowling, flashing the crowd, etc. IT was the complete opposite of the fancy step routines that the gals from East High did. So it stands to reason that the cheer would be exactly the opposite to their cheers as well.

I have thought about this often and taught the cheer to my children. They love it. I ran into a recent grad of McQ in Boston and he told me this is still THE cheer. If anyone has better info, please let me know!

Beaumont