Giving Peace a chance is the main focus of the International Day of Peace which falls on the 21st of September of every year. On this day, we are reminded to think about peace and act on it to let it show worldwide. It is a day that Peace is observed and celebrated universally. “Hopeful” is a slam given out to people to inspire and motivate them into going higher and achieving greater by staying strong, being resilient and never losing hope in all their endeavors and in acquiring a state of peace both nationally and internationally. The Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary’s definition of Hope is “to want something to happen and think that it is possible”. Having hope everyday in life is necessary for getting through difficulties. In this slam, the writer is addressing the entire community at large. The writer’s choice of title is a big guide that is guiding the reader/listener into what he wants us to consider when listening to or reading the poem. In this slam the writer stresses on the importance of having hope in our lives as this enables us to look positively into the future.
The first stanza of the slam is an advice on how we can approach life however we see it – “If life be a song, sing it…If life be a game, play it… Life is beauty, enjoy it… When life brings strategy, confront it”. We are advised to take life as it comes so that whatever life throws at us, we can use it to our convenience. This stanza aligns with the popular proverb “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade” which encourages people to be positive and optimistic despite any difficulty.
The writer acknowledges all the pain, grief and suffering that we’ve had to bear at a point in our lives. The slam draws our attention to two options that each one of us has that will surely determine the outcome of our future: “To step forward into growth or to stay back in safety”. These options are two opposites with very different outcomes. The writer’s tone is persuasive as he persuades us to choose to be hopeful and step forward into growth but ultimately, the choice is ours to make. The choice being ours to make only means that you are your own savior.
Hopelessness is an emotion that many people have allowed to rest within them because of struggles that seem unending. Their lack of optimism for an improved future is also fuelled by the fear of failure. In the line “No one is infallible”, the writer reminds us that failing is not abnormal for no one is perfect and we are bound to make mistakes. However, letting this fear of failure or the pains of the past hold us back and prevent our optimism and hope for the future is not recommended. So, we will only fail if we let the outer negative energy affect us –“ March like a ship on water, which may only capsize if the water on the outside gets on the inside”. At the verge of losing hope in the face of self-doubt and indecision, the writer reminds us to see the light within us –“If only each us could see that even in our loneliest hour and in the darkness of our insecurities, the outstanding light we still radiate…For the sun told me that sometimes she feels like nothing but a shadow”.
We are like the sun that always shines wherever she goes and it is ironical to feel like a shadow when you radiate light. This light should be a reminder that staying in the dark is not even an option. This means that even after being in despair, all hope is not lost and we must rise up and let our light shine again.
Peace is a major theme in this slam as the writer strongly urges us to be advocates of peace. We are advised to strive to maintain a state of peace within ourselves and around us. He paints a picture of a time in the past where our fathers offered advice to us in order to make us grow morally upright by teaching us the essence of peace and the importance of being conscientious. In this slam, a united community is a key factor towards achieving and maintaining a state of peace in the world. The writer makes us to understand the necessity for the recognition of Equality amongst us. He uses various words that indicate Peace as seen in the lines;
“We all know that people everywhere are created equally…And as human beings, we must promote empathy and compassion everyday…Let us continue to create platforms for proper education and cultural exchange…Then we will see much more positive energy activating creative excellence…We need positivity, equity and cohesion everyday”
Drawing from the lines above, the writer’s message to us is that if we promote empathy and compassion everyday and treat one another equally, this is proof that we are advocates of peace. The writer inspires us to collectively do more of innovative thinking in order to build resilience and to transform our world into a more sustainable and healthier one.
However, promoting peace and encouraging positivity in the community starts from oneself because we cannot genuinely succeed in positively impacting our community when we ourselves are not an example of what we want to see. Although changing the world may seem impossible, with infinite hope and positive action, it is possible. The writer makes us understand that the difficulties, pain and hardship we may encounter during our struggle to acquire positive change is only temporal because no matter how it hurts, the pain will come to an end eventually. So, hope is what should keep us going – “Accept the finite hurt, but never lose infinite hope”. Hope is the motivator necessary to push us to achieve what seems impossible.
Moreover, being united is very important as it will enable the community to grow faster and achieve much better results. The message in this slam encourages us to love one another, be advocates of peace, treat one another equally, have infinite hope for a better tomorrow and join hands together towards achieving Excellence. This slam supports the main themes of the slam “One Africa” by the same author which actively promotes Peace and Unity in our community. An important point to note is that the world doesn’t have to wait for the International Day of Peace to observe a peaceful state. On the contrary, this day should be considered a reminder that Peace is necessary and should be observed at all times and it is our place to see that we live in peace by working together equitably irrespective of race, gender, religion and social class. Individuals, communities and nations all over the world must begin by making peace with themselves by helping one another heal from past conflicts and pain and doing everything possible to build peace by avoiding future conflicts and maintaining a state of peace.
The main themes identified in this slam are Hope, Peace, Unity, Love, Pain
The Title of the slam shapes the reader’s/listener’s understanding of its content.
Personification: “Let Honesty and Integrity be master and mistress, for they form the base of a healthy soul”
“For even the sun told me”
Simile: “March like a ship on water”
Irony: “For even the sun told me that sometimes she feels like nothing but a shadow”.
The rhyming of words formed by the sound devices Consonance and Assonance form a beautiful rhyme – “Let’s all be credible, incredible, accessible and Indivisible…It raced towards the irreversible and the seemingly indestructible”.
Setting: The setting of the Hopeful video is in nature. The sea sometimes grants people hope and the green trees and plants symbolize hope and rebirth. This goes further to say that the new roots and leaves that still sprout from damaged trees and plants are a sign that hope should never be lost, because staying hopeful and acting positively to achieve our goals will lead to the rebirth we’ve been waiting for.
Tone: The tone is persuasive, optimistic and encouraging.
With the slam “HOPEFUL”, which is full of advice, inspires Hope, and promotes Peace, Mac Alunge has successfully delivered his message to the audience. The message is clear and understandable to anyone who comes across it. Once there is Love, Peace and Unity amongst us, with an infinite hope for a better future, our minds will always be creative to work positively to reach any height which wasn’t thought reachable.
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