Brick by brick, Tanatsei Gambura's Things I Have Forgotten Before dismantles walls of silence to show us the story behind the story: in a township room in 80s Harare, a straße in Bonn, an otherplace locked into grandmothers’ hips. Here we find lost brothers, predatory officers, the smiles of women on Fair & Lovely tubes, the concomitance of personal and national cataclysms. We confront our collusion in collective forgetfulness, and the painful but necessary process of rememory. Assured and inventive, Gambura reminds us that words are tools for worldbuilding, engineering language with startling grace.
Tanatsei Gambura is a poet, intermedia artist, and cultural practitioner who draws from personal experience, exploring the aftermath of trauma and possibilities of healing. Tanatsei is the runner-up to the inaugural Amsterdam Open Book Prize (2020), a Rebecca Swift Foundation Women Poets’ Prize longlistee (2020), and a recipient of the Library Of Africa and The African Diaspora (LOATAD) and Savannah Center for Contemporary Art (SCCA) Writing Residency (2021). Her poems appeared in Prufrock Magazine, London Reader, New Coin Poetry Journal, Poetry London and others. She is an alumnus of the British Council residency, These Images are Stories, the inaugural Obsidian Foundation Writer’s Retreat, and the Writerz & Scribez Griot’s Well residency.