‘Our Day’ is a ceremony every basic school in Ghana observes when the academic term ends.
The biggest one yet, in the country, happened on Friday, July 30, 2021, at the Christ Ambassadors School in Dansoman, thanks to a letter written by a class three pupil of the school.
On the evening of Thursday, July 31, 2021, Ghana’s Twitter space went berserk with various reactions to a post made by @SmylyThe3rd about a letter his colleague at work received from her son regarding want he wanted for Our Day.
The demands of the 9-year-old, whose name was later revealed as Oswald Gennuh, were very interesting. Domino’s Pizza Ghana first offered to provide 10 boxes of pizza for his class for free.
What started as pledges from these three food brands to Oswald and his class became very huge and went viral after a lot more people saw it and started retweeting and engaging Smyly’s tweet with hilarious comments and memes.
A lot more brands and companies, and other individuals, also hopped on the trend and also pledged to provide products that were enough for the whole school and not just Oswald’s class.
“I felt very happy and surprised because I didn’t know that just a paper and pencil could take me viral,” Oswald told Kuulpeeps.
While all of this was happening on Twitter, Oswald’s father, Stephen Mark Gennuh, was at work and had no idea of what was happening. His wife, Rita, was the one who broke the news to him.
“I was actually in the office and my wife called and was like ‘Mark, guess what’s happening. Oswald is trending’… And I asked ‘trending where?’… And she said ‘go and see all over social media’… And I asked ‘what happened?’… And she said ‘the letter has gone viral’, and she explained to me that when she got to the office, she showed it to a colleague and he just asked me if can he take a shot and didn’t even know that he was going to post it and in an hour or two he told me, ‘chale you’ve gone viral oo’,” was Mr Gennuh’s explanation on how he found out about his son’s letter going viral.
He continued: “Honestly speaking, I didn’t know it was going to be that huge. I thought it was going to be one of those things that you get the news trending and it just ends. So I took it to be normal so I did not bother to go confirm for myself until my wife called me again and said ‘now they have started calling me to offer gifts’. So that was what caught my attention and I decided to go and check. In fact, I am on Twitter but I don’t remember the last time that I went there. So I had to quickly reactivate my account and go and check what was happening.”
A day prior to Oswald’s letter going viral, Mr Gennuh showed the letter to his colleagues at work and they laughed and cracked jokes about it. “So that’s how it started. It was just fun, we just talked about it and it ended there,” he said.
Oswald, however, tells Kuulpeeps that he wrote the letter because he didn’t want his mother to forget.
According to his father, Oswald loves writing and mostly loves to inform him and his mother of very important things through writing.
“When it’s fathers or mother’s day, you will wake up in the morning and he has written a letter and placed it by our bed. When it’s our birthday too, he ensures that he does two; one for himself and one for the sibling and will present. So that’s how he is,” he said.
“Oswald would always want to communicate with me through the mother. So that’s how come he addressed the letter to his mother as well,” Mr Gennuh said as he narrated how he reacted when he first saw the letter.
“So, I was in the house; I was just resting and the mother came home from work and then just delivered the letter to me and said: ‘you have a love letter from your son’. There, I knew what it was. I just opened it and I saw a long letter, I started reading and when I was done, I just laughed and said: ‘as for this boy’. So in the morning, and I just asked the mother how we were going to go about it, and she said we needed to shop for him, and I just made provision for that. In fact, it was supposed to be a surprise for him actually. So his mother was going to get it and deliver it to him in the morning when he’s going to school.”
Mr Gennuh, however, revealed that they were not going to provide everything Oswald listed; just the ones they think he really needed.
“Honestly, we weren’t going to get him everything on the list. Because, some of the things, we talked to him and I know he didn’t need them; something like easter eggs. Honestly, speaking I was just telling a friend that if I asked him among the list to choose one particular item, he would have gone for easter eggs. But unfortunately, he couldn’t get it coming from anywhere, but we got him the easter eggs. Honestly, that wasn’t what I was going to get him. I would have taken the easter eggs out because every single week, he will ask for easter eggs. So, we would have selected some out, but we would have gotten him most of them.”
“I didn’t disappoint you in the exams, so please don’t disappoint me,” was a part of Oswald’s letter that got a lot of the people talking, with some even hilariously describing it as an emotional blackmail.
His father, however, revealed that they normally tell Oswald they have a surprise for him if he does well in his exams.
“Surprisingly, this time around when I told him that if he does well, I have a surprise for him, he was like ‘tell me the surprise so that it will motivate me and I will think about it when I’m learning so that I will be able to learn hard and pass very well’. At a point, he was disturbing me with it that I should tell him about the surprise and I was like, ‘look you don’t have a choice. Whether I tell you or not learn, study hard and pass well’. I think that is how it all started.”
Explaining and making Oswald understand all the was happening on Twitter, did not come easy for Mr Gennuh. He explained that Oswald was scared at a point because he didn’t know what was happening.
“So at a point, he became very timid and he was like, ‘so what’s going to happen now that the letter has gone viral and everyone is going to see it, what’s going to happen to me? what is going to happen at the Our Day?’. I told him that he shouldn’t worry and we will see about it. And because of the Covid-19 protocols, we had to talk to the school management and in fact, it was a short notice so we were not quite sure as to whether all these things were going to come on the next day or not.”
“So in the morning when we were a bit certain that there’s going to be some sort of crowd and media attention and presence in the school, I called him on the phone because for that night he slept very early so we couldn’t have many words with him. So in the morning and I told him ‘look Oswald, this is what is happening so you need to get prepared. I’ve realised that you are getting over-worried and you’ve become so timid but look this is just normal, people will come around, they will see you and you might be interviewed, but just feel free and talk to them’“
Mr Gennuh revealed that his expectations regarding the ‘Our Day’ were exceeded.
“What I was expecting, I saw more than that. I thought it was going to be one of those normal days even though people had said they wanted to come around. But I didn’t know it was going to be that big. We were there, private individuals, those who pleaded to be anonymous came and made their donations and left. And just about 9-10 am, people started trooping in and my colleagues were calling me from the office and they told me about the people who were coming, and that’s when I realised that there was going to be something big that day for the little boy and his colleagues at school.”
Certainly so, Oswald, his classmates, and every pupil in the school had a lot of fun and enjoyed the day.
“I was excited about all the gifts. I enjoyed myself,” Oswald said.
He added: “My favourite part was when the celebrities came to my school. I enjoyed KiDi’s performance with his song Enjoyment.”
Mr Gennuh revealed that just as the brands made Oswald and the students at Christ Ambassadors School happy with all the gifts and products, they were going to donate some of the products to other kids.
“We are going to ensure that he doesn’t enjoy them alone. We are going to do some donations. We are looking at some or two areas that we want to go to and make the donations so that he will also show the love that was expressed to him to others and put smiles on their faces.”
On Sunday Oswald and his parents donated some of the products to the Royal Seed Home Orphanage at Ofaakor, Accra.
Revealing what he is proud about Oswald, Mr Gennuh said: “I think his charisma. He’s very brave. Oswald is a bit reserved, a bit shy, but he is very brave.”
“He asks very intelligent questions when he is talking to you. There are times he would ask me questions and I will tell him that I will get back to him because some of the questions I wouldn’t have immediate answers for him. Some, I would have to go and read about it and come back to him. And what I like about him is that when he asks you don’t give him an immediate answer and tell him you will get back to him, after a while, he will come and remind you.”
Aaron Kwame Oduro, Oswald’s uncle, also confirmed this saying: “I think he is smart, he’s very intelligent and brave. When you get close to him, you will see that he’s very smart. Anything you say to him, he picks it up.”
Oswald’s intelligence is also very much appreciated in school. He indicated that Creative Arts and Mathematics are his favourite subjects.
“I like Creative Arts because I like doing creative things like carving things out of cardboards and doing things like that. I also like math because I like calculating numbers.”
His father, however, believes that Oswald would love to read General Science in senior high school because he loves science-related stuff.
“He does a lot of research and there was something he asked about Japan, which I can’t recollect now. He was asking about earthquakes in Japan and a whole lot. Honestly speaking, I got lost at a point. He loves to read about scientific stuff, so I think he would love to read science.”
While his uncle, Aaron, who is an alumnus of Adisadel College, would love for Oswald to be a Santa Clausian, Mr Gennuh, who is an alumnus of Ghana Secondary School, Koforidua, would love for his son to attend Achimota School (the alma mater of Oswald’s mom) if he wants a mixed school and PRESEC-Legon if he wants a boys’ school.
Oswald, however, indicated that he would want to be an actor in the future. Explaining why he said: “because I’ve seen a lot of people acting and I’ve wondered how it feels like when you are acting.”
He also loves to play games, watch old videos and takes pictures when he is not doing research on his iPad.
Oswald loves the fact that his parents take very good care of him, and all he wants to do now is to study hard in school and make them proud.
Watch the full interview below:
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