A brilliant debut by Rémy Ngamije, recently shortlisted for the 2020 AKO Caine Prize for African Writing.
The Eternal Audience of One by Rémy Ngamije
Seraphin Turihamwe is a young man whose life is characterised by movement. After leaving Rwanda under duress and never feeling at rest in Namibia, which he believes is slow and boring, he finds himself fighting to fit in in Cape Town. So much about the city is designed to push people like him out. Through his interactions with a few reluctant mentors, loyal friends and the women he carries on relationships with, he explores and performs different parts of his identity while dealing with other issues of family, race, immigrant life and love.Seraphin and his pursuit and struggle for inner peace and identity effortlessly meld together geography, history and how one’s experience of a place can be perceived as a relatable journey. The themes of movement or displacement, life as an immigrant or refugee and the life of a black youth are neatly unpacked. His relationships with women become markers of the passing of time and lessons learnt and provide insight into who he is and who he wants to be. Whether he ever finds rest and truly comes to know himself is up to the reader to decide.