I Got My Things and Left
Eric is no more. On the eve of his burial, his friends meet at his house to spend the night together—finding solace, sharing stories, and bringing to life memories of their dear friend: a once-singular being in a conformist world.
His coterie of friends gathers in Rwanda’s capital of Kigali, communing in the glow of iridescent light and around fires, reciting Eric’s poetry, meditating on their dear friend’s creative legacy and, ultimately, their own paths through life. Personal conversations turn into spirited existential debates before falling into weighted silences in this often-languid and intimate elegy. Mbabazi Sharangabo’s finely-tuned quietude takes us through ritual acts of remembrance and collective acts of mourning, conjuring an emotional universe that rails against an empty solemnity. And like Dambudzo Marechera’s The House of Hunger—the short story collection from which it derives its title—I Got My Things and Left reaches beyond the flatness of unalloyed melancholy into the depths of the human condition. — Tendai John Mutambu