Can you picture it? A small place. Is it where you are?
Is it where you tell yourself that, essentially there is nothing wrong? Is it where you put the things that hurt and think they will be beautiful again?
Maybe it is the space between you and the closed door which separates the public from the private. Or the shadowy moment between memories which allows grief to seep in.
How about a street corner where you stand, unseen, with the season wintering around you, looking up at building facades, seeing the weathered and scratched details of time on the city’s architectural shell for the first time?
Does you small place have room for Lothar Von Trotha’s ghosts, Eve’s heresy, and this little light of mine? Will it accommodate fear or a body riddled with bullets?
With borders closed and movement restricted, with only the mind allowed to wander unhindered through writing, visual art, music, and film, the whole world is a small space right.
It has always been a small place for some of us—black people, Africans.
And now look what you have done. You should have let him live. But maybe it is as they say: a soul knows its way to violence.
You should be warned: our mouths hold fire and water. We have queens in our bloodlines and we are the vendors of dreams.
Now all the small spaces come together, and all the stories align. From the tip of a pen and the aperture of a camera lens; from a desk in an art gallery with a computer with two windows open—one for work, one for your tentative manuscript. The small spaces grow. They multiply and march—gentle alphas, dust devils, golden moments, and the departed of fate unknown.
The direction: onwards—the only way to the future is forwards.
What is a small place?
Let me tell you: it is a short story long.
You will have to put your doek, durag, or headscarf on if you want to hear it all.
This is the third issue of 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.