Vasbyt Hold fast, hold true. Hold on.

Amidst all the misdirections of life, it remains crucial to stay on a chosen path; therein, at the tail end of effort, failure, and success lies the lesson.

What lesson, you ask. Well, that depends.

You may learn that one man’s trash is another man’s treasure, and that replacing one kind of pain with another has its uses. Or that to find the memories you are willing to share you must delve through the red and black scarves and look again at those memories you would prefer to stay buried in silt. Maybe at the end of your journey you will find reprieve from family and society, from dogma and convention. From anger.

Or, maybe yet, what you find will be bones and demigods.

Who can know what you will learn on the road to your own truths. All we know about lessons is that some are near, some are far.

But: persevere, push on.

That is what vasbyt, the Afrikaans word, urges us to do: to hold fast, to hold true—through the times when it feels like we are forever falling.

In darkrooms filled with still-developing black and white memories, with memories still being mapped, come closer to people, get a sense of and accept your doings. Realise this: one day we will not have more days; so say and live your truths, even when you are the colour of speak only when spoken to.

As long as we are stuck between the gods and the graves, between home and homebound, there is only one thing to do: vasbyt!

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.

Cover Image: © Taj Fancis.