Things I Have Forgotten Before by Tanatsei Gambura
PBS Autumn Pamphlet Choice 2021
A calling to a homeland, a calling to the oppressor and a calling to the oppressed.’ Courtney Stoddart
‘The title invokes an inheritance of erasure: what it means to live in a postcolony is to search for things you don’t know or to reach for what must be remembered. Tana makes permanent what might otherwise be transient. There are histories in her sentences.’ Mona Hakimi
Brick by brick, Tanatsei Gambura 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.
In my language, the dead are welcomed into the home. But the word for home is also the word for sing, so maybe invited into a song.