Writers Space Africa-Rwanda
Issue 1

We Are Not the End: An Introduction — Patrick Nzabonimpa

You begin with a longing dressed like an illusion,
A flower to be watered for years;
A colour of shame backed by a notion of growth.

You begin with a wallowing mind,
An odour of fossils that deserve to be forgotten,
You dance in the rain despite knowing it’s cliché…

but you keep hoping for a rooftop party,

An excerpt from Unveil forthcoming in my poetry collection, The Unvoiced.

When I first started composing poems in late 2018, I always felt compelled to create something deeper, something weaved like fabric. And I did, despite my reluctance to disclose it. The voice in my head would join forces with my anxiety to convince me that it wasn’t worth sharing. I tried and failed numerous times, but I persisted. I eventually shared my first work, to which my friends applauded. Others asked me questions like “What is this?” and “When did you start writing these things?” sounding perplexed. Then I said, “Well, I don’t know.” But as I continued to share, they grew accustomed to it.

That was my ‘beginning’. It’s not always obvious. Pushing the envelope and ignoring your discomfort are sometimes necessary. It’s like saying “whatever,” while simultaneously letting out every scream you have inside of you. It involves realising that the world deserves to hear your voice and that, unintentionally, your problems may present possibilities. 

One of my favourite authors, Brené Brown, once said that “sharing your writing is a way to connect with others and make a difference in the world.” And I wholeheartedly concur. Through Umukarago, I’m hoping to witness this. The goal of the magazine is to help writers and poets from Rwanda and those who call Rwanda home spread their creative wings and soar across the world. I had the honour of peeking at some, and they motivated me. They exhale, sob, shout, free, and represent the voiceless. The first issue of Umukarago is just the beginning; it’s far from being the end.

We hold the brilliant future of Rwandan literature in our hands, but we are not its ultimate destination. The opinions expressed in our debut issue have the potential to alter how the public perceives us and how our inner selves relate to it. Feel for them. Absorb them. As we begin this important journey, join them for a walk and share them.

Remember! You are not the end. No, we are not the end. We are only the beginning – the bold beginning.

Patrick Nzabonimpa (Tom)

Country Coordinator 

Writers Space Africa-Rwanda chapter (WSA-R)

Featured image by Tim Bagdanov via Unsplash

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