The sun gets down on hands and knees, and peers at how unremarkably the year is spent. It would be easy to lay around in guiltless grief, watching everyone else get their skylines while we remained flightless birds, taking city drives to nowhere as the wind crashes against the sky.
Yet again we have been taught about the hunger of absence and loss, coping and surviving, living and trying to thrive. This year has been a muted bride. It seems like the right time for pity parties when love, loved ones, and the goals we set at the start of the year depart or fall by the wayside. Some might say we are strong until affection weakens us, that resurrection is possible but improbable.
This cannot be true.
We continue to construct new African worlds through apertures and shutter speeds. From Namibia, Barbados, Kenya, Iran, Malawi, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Switzerland, the United States of America, and Zambia, we say and reaffirm, now and forever: siyah zibast—black is beautiful.
Notice the veins that run through you; we are unicorns in plain sight. Past, present, and future—all is undetermined. True. We know we have to work twice as hard to feel the warmth of the sun.
There are many thanks to be given to the editors who have shown us the way so far: Kay-Leigh De Sousa, Mubanga Kalimamukwento, Mutaleni Nadimi, Zanta Nkumane, and Ibilola Odunlami; the writers, poets, and visual artists whose victories have inspired us: Namafu Amutse, Ndawedwa Denga Hanghuwo, Pauline Buhle Ndhlovu, and Natasha Uys; the trustees who have guided us: Jakob De Klerk, Bonita De Silva, Cara Mia Dunaiski, Louis Kato Kiggundu, and Heike Scholtz; and our patron: the Honourable Justice David Smuts.
Thanks to them and so many others we look to the new year and think: the plans I have for you.
O! The dreams. The steps. The paths. The journeys.
Let them all come.
This is Doek!—a literary magazine from Namibia.
Rémy is a Rwandan-born Namibian writer and photographer. He is the founder, chairperson, and artministrator of Doek, an independent arts organisation in Namibia supporting the literary arts. He is also the editor-in-chief of Doek! Literary Magazine.
His debut novel The Eternal Audience Of One was first published in South Africa by Blackbird Books and is available worldwide from Scout Press (S&S). His work has appeared in The Johannesburg Review of Books, Brainwavez, American Chordata, Lolwe, and Granta, among others, with more forthcoming in numerous publications. He won the Africa Regional Prize of the 2021 Commonwealth Short Story Prize. He was shortlisted for the AKO Caine Prize for African Writing in 2020 and 2021 and was also longlisted and shortlisted for the 2020 and 2021 Afritondo Short Story Prizes respectively. In 2019 he was shortlisted for Best Original Fiction by Stack Magazines.