I was 9 years old in primary 5, and it was my school’s end-of-session prize-giving day. Traditionally, pupils entertained guests which included parents, with assorted performances- cultural dance, poetry recital, singing, acting- and it was usually a well-attended event.
That year, I was amongst eight pupils who were making a recital. Even though I had no idea what I was talking about, I loved my recital because it was adequately laced with many big words my young mind did not understand. In my daydreams, I gave a flawless rendition and the audience applauded me, very impressed. I could even see my mum’s rivals green with envy!
If I loved my recital, my mum loved it more. On a large cardboard, she had clearly written it out in its entirety, and proudly hung it in the sitting room. She recited it many times herself, gesticulating just as I had done on stage.
Many many years have passed since I was 9, but I remember a few lines here and there of the recital, and they strike a true chord. It was titled:
Why do people hold on to life?
Why do societies hold on to cycles of existence, even when everything suggests that pessimism is a reasonable option?
The reason lies in man’s innate ability to hope.
In his curiosity to reach the next bend…
Where succour may well be in spite of doubts and travails of all kinds.
Hope indeed is a tonic…
You can find it in man’s face and his raised head…
Even when he slides into unconsciousness, HOPE does not desert him.