Believe In Me
“Pamela! Pamela! Could you please stop singing and leave the bathroom? You’ve spent almost thirty minutes in there; I need to take my bath, I’m running late for work,” yelled Mrs Owusu Mensah, Pamela’s mother.
Pamela was the third of four siblings. She loved to sing so much. Everywhere in the house one would hear her singing. She had been doing that right from infancy. Now she is aspiring to be a great musician.
Her mother gave her an angry look as she walked out of the bathroom, but Pamela Owusu Mensah couldn’t be bothered. She turned and said to her mother, “Don’t worry mum, you’ll be proud of me one day.”
“Do you think you are the only one who can sing in this house? Try your father and see,” her mum replied.
“Oh daddy? I haven’t heard him sing before.”
“Because he doesn’t want to, but he’ll definitely surprise you one day.” “Mum wait, don’t go in yet; I have something to discuss with you when you come back from work,” she said, putting her arms around her mum’s neck. Pam was almost of the same height as her mother, tall and beautiful yet she was only 17 years old.
“What is it? Tell me now; I don’t want to be anxious at work waiting for what you want to tell me.” “It’s nothing serious; there’s going to be a singing competition and I want to take part. I saw the advertisement on TV. Now that I’m on vacation it will keep me busy,” she said.
“Alright we’ll discuss that after work”. In the evening they talked at length about the competition. Pam told her mother that the competition was in two parts and that six countries were competing.
Two representatives from each country will enter the preliminary round of the competition then the winners will go to South Africa for the grand contest, the top prize of which is $100,000 plus other rewards. “Mum, it will be a dream come true if I win this singing contest.”
“But Pam what about your school work? How are you going to combine the two? You know you are in your final year.”
“Mum the grand competition comes off in four months. By then I would have finished my senior high school exams. I’m just praying I win the local contest in order to represent this country.”
Pamela’s father returned from work with a straight face, which was quite unusual. He handed an envelope to Pam, who quickly opened it. It was her terminal examination report. She had placed fifth in her class of 40.
Mr Owusu Mensah wasn’t happy about his daughter’s performance. Pam had always been first in her class from Form One. The current performance was quite a failure to him.
“Pam your teacher’s remark stated you’ve not been taking your studies seriously. You’ve been singing all over the school, hence your poor performance.
From now onwards there shall be no singing in this house. No choir practice or whatever, unless you sit up and better your grades.”
Pam did not take the order kindly because it could sabotage her participation in the competition. She begged her father to reconsider his decision because it could mar her ambition.
Mr Owusu Mensah roared at her daughter, saying he won’t allow her to participate in the contest and added that she should rather concentrate on her studies for a ‘better’ future.
“Singing didn’t help me Pam, said her father, and as such I won’t let you waste your time.”
“But dad, I’m not your only child who is brilliant. Derrick will soon be a doctor; Anne is an engineering student in South Africa. I want to be a human resource manager and a musician in future.
Kwabena is only in JHS but he also has a bright future. Dad please don’t kill my interest.”
Mr Owusu Mensah wouldn’t hear any of that. Pam ran into her room crying, while her mother sat quietly looking at father and daughter. She also tried to persuade her husband to rescind his decision but he would not budge.
Later, Mrs Owusu Mensah assured her daughter that she would help her to participate in the competition on the blind side of her father.
“Oh mother that’s why I love you so much,” Pam exploded, as she buried her mother in a big and tight hug.
For almost two weeks, Pam went out for singing practice without her father’s knowledge. He was a very busy man who didn’t even have time to watch TV He didn’t know what was going on until some few days to the final stage of the preliminary competition.
He was in his office when he heard some names being mentioned in a TV broadcast as the finalists of the competition. Then came the line — “Pamela Owusu Mensah also made it to the finals.”
He momentarily lifted his eyes to watch the TV and there was Pam’s photograph on the television. Mr Owusu Mensah shook his head and quipped, “So Pamela joined the competition after all.”
He said nothing to Pam when he went home, for he waited for the day he would take action. Neither Pam nor her mother knew that Mr Mensah had found out about her participation in the singing contest.
On the day of the finals, Pam’s mother told her father that they were going for a friend’s party along with Kwabena and that they would be back very late. Just as they were about to leave, Mr Mensah said, “So the singing competition has turned into a friend’s party?
They stopped dead in their tracks with amazement written boldly on their faces. Pamela began to beg her father to forgive her and to allow her to take part in the final competition.
Her younger brother, Kwabena, also went down on his knees to plead with his father to allow her sister to participate in the finals. So did her mother. Her father, however, stood his grounds as he yelled at Pam, “I will not let you go anywhere.”
Pam looked at her father tearfully and said, “Daddy believe in me, if I don’t win this competition, I will never sing in this house again. That’s a promise.”
Finally, her father gave in and even opened the door for them. “Will it be live on TV?” “Ye-e-e-s-s-s, d-a-a-ad!” Pam screamed as mother, daughter and brother dashed out of the house and headed for the National Theatre as they were running late. The competition was billed to start at 7:00 pm and it was already 6:00pm.
An hour into the event, the competition became very keen. All the contestants were doing their best to be among the best two.
There were six of them competing for the top prize. Pam had become everyone’s favourite. She gave of her best at every stage of the competition. Her voice was so touching and her unique style was pulling the crowd.
Meanwhile, her father, who had settled down at home to watch her on TV, fell asleep towards the tail end of the competition.
Before he fell asleep he had had a good feel of his daughter’s singing prowess and had even told himself, “I’d never imagined that Pam could sing like this.”
He hadn’t paid much attention to her daughter’s talent. Since he lost interest in his music career, fine art had been his second artistic passion but because of lack of sponsorship, he nearly ended up wayward.
Thanks to his dear mother, he was able to get back on track. Mr Mensah is now the Chief Executive Officer of a reputable company.
While still dozing off very late in the night, Mr Mensah heard shouts blasting from the TV loudspeaker, which shot him out of his sleep. The competition was over when he finally brushed the sleep from his face and woke up.
He didn’t get to know who had emerged the winner. Now, the shouts that had woken him up seemed to be getting closer to his house and within some minutes the house was full of people shouting and dancing.
It was difficult for Pam to even get out of the car and when she finally squeezed herself out, Pam quickly ran out and embraced her father who had come out to see what was happening.
“Dad-dad-dad, I-I-I did it,” she said in gasps. “I’m sorry I didn’t believe in you at first.”
“Don’t worry dad there is more to come. As a matter of fact I didn’t know I had so many supporters.”
“Well it’s been an eventful evening.” Pam’s mother said smiling broadly at her daughter.
Now that the contest was over, Pam concentrated on her school work. She went to school more confident than ever and was poised to win the academic and singing battles ahead.
Before she left for South Africa, her father became her voice coach. He found time to give her all the support she needed.
Twelve contestants were in the continental competition; two from each of the six competing countries. The countries were Ghana, Nigeria, South Africa, Kenya, Uganda and Botswana.
Each week of the competition saw two contestants out. Pam made sure to secure a place in the finals, which she did. The day before the grand finals, Pam was very anxious.
Almost the whole of Africa would be watching her on DStv and other channels. And she had vowed not to let her country, herself or family down.
The evening was a grand one. The finalists opened the show with one of South Africa’s hit movie soundtracks, “Sarafina”. They performed it so well along with South African dance that the whole place was filled with applause.
Pam’s family had been given free tickets to witness the event. The whole family including her two older siblings, Derrick and Anne, were there. Her younger brother, Kwabena, who was in the audience, couldn’t stop shouting out her name.
After several rounds of keen competition, Pam hit the stage with Mariah Carey’s song “Hero” and stole the show from then on. The audience couldn’t help but give her a standing ovation. Her father had tears welled up in his eyes.
He was so astonished by her daughter’s performance that he could not help but roar, “Pam you’re incredible!”
The last part of the competition saw the finalists perform their own written and composed songs. Pam’s song was entitled “Believe in me” which she dedicated to her father.
She sang so well that one thought she’d been singing for years. The other finalists were also very brilliant in that segment.
Finally, the time to announce the winner was up. The top finalists held each other tightly. They were from Ghana, South Africa and Nigeria.
Pam was the only female among the three males. Hearts, at that stage, were pounding, as everybody anxiously waited for the winner to be announced. The fourth prize went to Emeka from Nigeria; Kwame, the other Ghanaian who made it alongside Pam to the finals came third.
Now it was left with Nhlahla from South Africa and Pam.
Both of them were good and the crown could fit any of them. After some minutes of waiting, the MC announced, “this has been a keen contest. Everybody here will agree with me that each of these two deserves to win.
This time, South Africa will put on hold their dances and give way to Ghana to sing…” The audience didn’t even allow the MC to complete that sentence, as many of them, including some South Africans, shouted, “Wow”, “Hurray, you deserve it Pam”. “Congrats”, etc.
The MC hugged both finalists then lifted up Pam’s hand. There were shouts all over the place. Her family ran up to the stage to join in the celebrations. Pam shed tears of joy while the audience continued to applaud her. She sang her song, “Believe in me” to close the show. Pam took home a $100,000 plus a record deal with an international recording studio and some other prizes.
Now when she came face-to-face with her father, Mr Mensah said to his daughter, “Pam you’ve made us so proud.”
“Dad I told you to believe in me.”
“Pam I’m so sorry for my earlier reaction to your participation in the contest, I could have denied you this opportunity. Congratulations, now you’re a star.”
“Mum, dad, Derrick, Anne and Kwabena, all of you helped to make me a star. Thanks for your support. Let’s go home and throw the biggest party ever.”