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 Ngamije is a Rwandan-born Namibian short story writer, essayist, columnist, poet, photographer, and the author of The Eternal Audience Of One (Blackbird Books, 2019). He also writes for brainwavez.org, a writing collective based in South Africa. His short stories have appeared in Litro Magazine, AFREADA, The Johannesburg Review of Books, The Amistad, The Kalahari Review, American Chordata, Doek!, Azure, Sultan’s Seal, and New Contrast. His poetry has been anthologised in “My Heart In Your Hands: Poems From Namibia” (forthcoming from UNAM Press, 2020). He is the editor-in-chief of Namibia’s first literary magazine: Doek!
Image: Rémy Ngamije