Public speaking as an art

A sight of dosing individuals in an audience during speeches is common. The number is even higher during evening functions.

But for the audience that attended the 11th Kalibu Academy Speech Night in Blantyre, there was no moment to dose as captivating speeches kept the audience in anticipation of the next activity. Clearly it was demonstrated that making speeches is an art.

The three-hour event, that also awarded students who excelled in various academic and extra-curricular activities, nailed home a message that failure is not permanent.

Rhema Amanda Phiri (holding trophy) was named best student

Kalibu Academy director Pastor Micheal Howard emphasised the need to strive in life.

“Success is not final. Failure is not fatal. It is the courage to continue that matters. It does not matter whether you make it this year or the other year,” he said.

Howard, whose school administration philosophy dwells on strict discipline, told the parents, guardians and students that in its quest for success the academy will not adjust its standards downwards.

“We are not changing anything in the interest of parents. We are educating your children in the best way,” he said.

Director of ceremonies Andrew Mhango said schools can be classified into three groups.

“There are bad schools, then there are good schools. Finally, there are great schools. But what makes a great school?” he asked.

Suddenly, a Form Five student stood at the back of the hall and swiftly walked to the podium while shouting that he knows the answer.

The expectant audience was pleasantly surprised as the student, Rahil Nathasingh, outlined the characteristics that make a great school.

His answer included quality of teachers, conduct of students and standards of school facilities.

Kalibu Academy head teacher Pastor Paisley Mavutula moved the audience by sharing a WhatsApp conversation with a former student serving in the British Army, which read: “The military is just like Kalibu. With all the discipline, Kalibu set the path for me and I am among the best in my platoon.” 

The conversation synchronised well with Kalibu Academy head boy Emmanuel Nkhoma’s message that discussed the benefits of discipline.

“Either you experience the pain of discipline or experience the pain of regret,” he said.

The night’s final word came from head girl Praise Mwadzaangati whose speech emphasised the need to soldier on even in the face of obstacles.

It was a timely message for those who did not make the list of achievers.

“Everyone of us has a potential to be successful. Failure is temporary, but giving up makes it permanent,” she said.

Speaking in an authoritative voice, Mwadzaangati told the gathering that the ability to rise up after a fall is what separates winners from losers.

“The secret of life is rising after falling down eight times and rising up nine times,” she concluded her speech that received a corresponding applause.

Apart from the speeches that took a formal format, the night had surprises that sent the audience into stitches.

One memorable presentation was the flaws in the notes that day scholars bring for excusing themselves from lessons and other school-related activities.

Mhango wondered if the notes, which in some cases lacked logic, originated from the parents.

In one of the notes, a “parent requests the school administration to excuse their ward for being absent from June 28 to 32.”

In another note a ‘parent’ informs the school: “John will not come to school because he had two teeth taken out of his face.”

Then Mhango came with another one.

“Please excuse Ray from school, he has very loose bowels,” he said.

American essayist, lecturer, philosopher and poet once said: “Speech is power; speech is to persuade, to convert, to compel. It is to bring another out of his bad sense into your good sense.”

And the 11th Kalibu Academy Speech Night may have achieved the purpose to fully awake an audience. n

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