Experimental Writing: Africa vs Latin America Vol 1

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Experimental Writing: Africa vs Latin America Vol 1

'River Blindness' by Stacy Hardy

They walk in a line. They follow each other, one after, the next and the next. The line is unbroken. The one behind’s hand holds onto the shoulder of the one in front. They form a chain. Each one is a link.

The one and then the next, linked together to make a line, a thing. They move slowly. Going is not easy. They stumble and start. It takes time to find the rhythm, the pace of the one in front and the one after that. They take a few steps. They shudder. Even the slightest pause, a brief halt can cause an upset, a jolt in the motion, a broken beat. It ripples back down the line and they have to start again. One and then one, one step and the next, building the rhythm. The rhythm grows, it swells. By midday they are almost in tune. They are moving quickly now. Like some extinct animal, lumbering, unstoppable, crashing through the bush.

The one in front leads. He holds out his right hand to protect his face, instinctively shields his eyes even though they are useless. In his left hand he carries a stick. The stick is rough and gnarled, a branch picked up from the wayside. He taps ahead of him. From time to time he waves it, he feels and probes. Other times he uses it as a scythe or a hacksaw. He hacks ahead, clears the path.

The going is not easy. Towards evening the brush is thick, the trees have roots and knots, ropy nooses that snap shut and ensnare toes. The branches weave together to form trip flares and trap pits. The vines are hangmen. The heaped leaves are pyres. The bush is the enemy. It is waiting ahead of them, hanging low. The bush is everywhere. It surrounds them, to the left and to the right. In places the trees grow tall and it hangs above. The bush is alive. They can hear it, the rustles and snaps, something moving. The sound travels and gets lost, it bounces off tree trunks, twists then snaps shut. Bamboo whips sting their faces. They brush them aside. They walk through bleeding cheeks and twisted ankles. They have no choice. There is nowhere to stop, no clearing big enough.

They move slowly. A kilometre can take days, weeks. It makes no difference; they have lost all sense of time. They have long abandoned names, discarded like the other things they have lost on the way, the excess baggage and extra clothes, the rotten food they had to throw out after a week, the stragglers, those who for some reason couldn’t keep up or were forced to turn back. Their numbers dwindle. In the beginning there are eleven. Eleven, just imagine it, uneven, an impossible number, a whole soccer team. Just getting into a line, lining up, one through to eleven, takes forever.

Movement is slow. So many stops and starts. The girl who keeps tripping and falling, can’t find her feet. She is Eight to begin with but as they progress she moves backwards. Number Nine then number Ten. It makes no difference, where ever they place her, she slips and skidders, she stumbles. She can’t explain it. She tilts her head and the whole world tilts, to the left or to the right. She says it’s like her balance went with her sight.

Number Seven snorts, an absurd idea of course, everyone knows it, balance is controlled by the ears and not the eyes. She hangs her head, has no answer. She tries again. Eight down to Ten, finally all the way back to number Eleven, then one day, gone. No one can explain it. Number Ten is stumped. His hands grope at empty air, she was right there. There! It was so hard to tell, her touch was so light, her hand on his shoulder, always falling off, releasing her grip, stopping and starting. Somehow he lost track.

In the morning they gather at the riverbank and call out loudly. They shout and wait for the echo. It comes back to them over the water, soft and hollow, somehow sad. Someone says, maybe she simply fell behind; maybe all she needs is time. They wait until the sun is on their faces. They wait until it is dead above, high in the sky. They wait until evening, until they can’t wait any longer. They are losing valuable time. They set out again, more cautiously. Each one clasps the one in front, hands knot into tight fists, fingers lock into button holes and belt loops, hang on for all they’re worth. At dawn they do a headcount. Ten. They make a line. They touch each other’s faces, like ants meeting on a path, their fingers are feelers, stroking cheeks, creeping into ears. The sun is rising slowly. The hot rays wash their skin. They cuddle up. They sleep close together, despite the heat, limbs flung over each other, legs intertwined and knotted. They sleep restlessly, the sound of their breathing, fitful and erratic. They do not cry anymore, tears are the luxury of the sighted, a performance of emotions, a way of communicating pain or grief that has no meaning in their world. Instead they moan. They conjure all manner of grunts and sighs from the pits of their bellies. They make noises they never thought themselves capable of. Dry sobs that hiccough out their mouths, hot breaths sputtering into grunts and phlegmy snarls, a low exhalation, a powerful sigh. They sigh because of the hardship, because of the cold currents that come off the river and make ice on the tongue, because of the burning heat at midday.

They sigh when they wake up. Everything hurts, the whole body. Their legs are stiff and hollow, stomachs growl. Breakfast is so little, a few scraps, the daily ration. Everyone is suspicious. One got more than Five. Four is hording, the balls of sticky rice, it is always the same sticky rice, and the same big flies that swarm on their faces, the same fistful of dried peas and nuts that stick in their teeth. Still they fight. They bicker and spit. There is never enough. They sit licking their fingers, drive large flies away from their eyes with their free hands.

It takes so long to get started. To find their things, their bags and backpacks, a missing shoe, missing or kicked away in the night. Groping on hands and knees, bones clicking and sighing as they stand, wobbling, as they orientate. They make a line, they shuffle into their places. One through to Ten. Even then the going is slow. Someone is always sick, heaving and coughing. The old man who falls suddenly ill. He doesn’t fall so much as sit down one day and refuse to go any further. He sits with his hands on his knees and his head bowed. He waves them away, go without me, I’m only holding you back. His voice is so tired and heavy no one dares argue. They do as he says. They go. They go silently. They link their arms. One to Three. They form a line. They lurch and they build their rhythms. For a while the going is easy, the jungle has given way to a sandy stretch. The sand is hard. Their footsteps drum on its surface.

One through to Nine, and then the Eight, the man that suddenly changes his mind. Out of the blue he calls a halt. He says, but this is madness! Look at us. They stand with their heads down. They do not look because they cannot look. Most of them have given up on the whole idea of appearance. They have let their beards grow long and hair knot. They stand like that frozen, wrapped in rags, hunched, swaying slightly as though drunk, feet in the dirt, suddenly aware of their unsightliness. The shame! It grows and grows until one speaks out against it, pushes it down. Number Six: go, if you have a better plan!

And he does. The Eighth one stands. He makes a performance, an audio event, seeking out his things, sighing and scrambling then suddenly silent. They can hear him standing, his breath. They can hear him waiting. Maybe some of them think, yes, he is right, madness! But no one follows. They stay still. They wait until they hear him go, until the crunch of his feet turns into a whisper, until it blends with the thousands of whispers that fill the night: the trees and the animals, birds and insects, the hushed voices they swear they hear, sometimes so clearly they freeze on the spot. They bring the whole line to a halt. One crashes into the other and another is pulled back, jerked mid step by a frozen hand on the shoulder. Listen, they mouth. They tap the one in front. The tap runs down the line like a snake or a wave. It pitter-patters. It ticks then halts, arrives in the front. It arrives at the leader, the number One who must interpret it and make a call.

He listens carefully. It is crucial not to make a mistake. It is possible the sound is the enemy, the enemy setting a trap, the enemy planning an attack. They have not seen the enemy but they know it is out there. They know because sometimes they hear it. They hear the bombs, muted blasts that make the ground shake, different type of bombardment: the successive tremors, air pressure. The sound of explosion after explosion, it can’t be... it definitely can’t just be the wind.

They know because the enemy is why they are here. Why they are on the move. Moving forward they call it, but really it is fleeing. The enemy has forced them to flee. There are those who still hear things, explosions in their head, bullets popping and the smell: carbide, gun-smoke, burning thatch. There are those who say the enemy has made them blind. There are stories, rumours. Something found floating in the river in the morning, a dark swollen thing, the face blanched, eyes wide, the mouth open and thick with water. A body exhumed by fishermen and carried back to shore. And then another and another, twisting slowly, face up, face down, face up.

River blindness they call it. You’ll recognise the eyes, the vacant stare, ghostly pale, fixed forward or sometimes squint, staring off in opposite directions. The opaque film that has descended. The film is developed, it has black patches and moments of light, white glowing spots where lesions have been burned into the retina. Always, it happens so slowly. Not like being struck or afflicted. It is not like an act of God. Rather something more insidious, a halo that starts on the outer edges of the vision, a floating thing, an amoeba that suddenly appears as if a cell has cut loose from the programme, swollen to a hundredth of its size, an invisible thing rendered suddenly visible. It is like staring into a Petri dish. The amoeba splits and splits again. The amoeba doubles its numbers. Now there are two, then four, perfect divisible, and again. The dark patch grows. Not black exactly, not blackness, too variously shaded to be called darkness, too permeable to be a blindfold. It is something else, something that encompasses all those things but commits to none, something impossible, unstoppable.

They can’t escape it. Everywhere they look the river is as wide as a lake, a sea, or a plain. It consumes their lives. It flows. Now they follow it. They have no choice. A river is like a road. It always leads somewhere, the next village and the next. They walk through hundreds of them, deserted like ghost towns. Or maybe there are other people, they just can’t see. Maybe they are blind like them, hiding in their house or wandering amongst the ruins, their heads lolling back, gaping up at the heaven as if waiting for an answer from God.

They call out, no answer. Village after village, it is the same. At times, they think they are walking in circles, that there’ll be nothing after. But there is something, a town, they can hear a dog barking, they can smell the smoke in the air. The streets have no paving. They keep close to the tiny houses and shacks, thread forward slowly. Now and again they stop, hoping to find - what? Food. Something left in a doorway or on a shelf. A bag of rice or millet. A sweet potato, even shrivelled up. Something more, the real prize, a tin that has rolled loose, buttery beans in thick tomato sauce, whole sardines preserved in oil! A sign of life.

It is useless. They are too late. Everything burned or looted, houses devoured from the inside like empty shells. The aluminium sheets bang in the wind, the plastic whipping loose from the roofs against the sides, the lingering smell of smoke. The breeze carries it, some of it blows into their faces.

They travel at night because it is safer. At night everything is dark. The playing field is level. The landscape is rocky and dangerous. Everyone stumbles and falls, blinded under the blanket of darkness. They set out in the early evening. Feel the darkness coming down by the sudden change in the air, the dip as the sun is sucked away and night comes. They gather their things, a million tiny sighs and sucks as bags are loaded on to backs and shoulders sag. They order themselves into a line. They assume the position, each in his or her correct placement, behind the one in front and after the one behind. They feel with their hands, seek out the familiar faces. They link arms to form the snake, each arm rested on the one in front’s shoulders. They begin to move. The familiar lurch as it sets out. The snake slides, it hesitates then flicks forward. It gathers speed. The One, Two, Three, Four, all the way to Eight.

More have been lost. The couple that vanish one evening, who suddenly aren’t there. They wouldn’t notice but for their things: emptied and scattered, bags riffled through. Things are missing. So many things! Food and clothing and personal possessions, things that have meaning only to those who owned them. Who would want an old book? A letter from a loved one that no one could read? A pair of sunglasses? Stupid! A left over vanity, an empty conceit to shield blind eyes from the blind? Other things.

The couple. Where are they? They call out. They keep their faith. They hope for the best. It’s a joke or a prank. Or the worst: an enemy invasion, a brigade that stalked them in the night. Maybe the couple were startled and awoken. Maybe they are lying dead or wounded, at their feet, just out of reach, a hundred metres. Right there! Unable to call out. They search the site, look for clues. Down on their hands and knees. The ground is muddy, slick with dirt and shit. They run their hands. They make a list. Things found: debris, rubble, plastic bags and bottles. Thing presumed missing or lost. So many. So many people. The sounds at night in the village: the footsteps, like people wandering in circles and then the sobbing, soft but penetrating weeping that rings through the night.

They shake their heads. There is nothing to be done. They set out again. They lash their things more tightly to their backs. They begin to march. Look at them go. Look at them stumble and slip. They are moving very slowly now. They travel with heavy hearts. The thought of the danger, the enemy, or the worse, a thought more dangerous, the enemy inside, within their ranks, within themselves. They have become silent, suspicious. Four blames Three. Five blames Four, she has developed the feeling he is glaring at the back of her head. The spot has become numb and swollen, it itches. She keeps running her hand through her hair. More than anything she wants to turn around and confront him. But say what? Her accusation is ridiculous. She lowers her head and keeps waking, scuffs her feet in the dirt. Others hang back. A desperation that has started to set in, a hard knot in their throats that they have to swallow to push down.

Everyday, waking as if from the dead. It is always the same, waking, blinking, not believing, trying to cast it aside, push it up or down. One is the first awake. He opens his eyelids and sucks in his breath. Everywhere the limitless pale nothingness, an endless mist, as if by some false step he has fallen into a fathomless veil. The veil is a presence, a thing. It is not a not seeing, a sightlessness, it offers no such relief. By its very nature it demands viewer participation, imposes so one has to look and look. You can’t just cast it aside, you can’t break through, no matter how many times, he reaches up his hand and wipes it across his eyes as if to unhook it, to pull the blind.

The gesture sticks, it becomes a small tick, a nervous action he performs every few minutes, pausing briefly to run his hand. It is impossible, the blindness holds tight. The blindness has little claws that pins the eyes. It is sly, plays tricks on him so that sometimes he thinks he sees things - thinks or imagines. Sometimes he looks for them. He concentrates until the darkness becomes something more, a vague form, a patch of lighter dark, a ghost-of-a-form manifesting after enough concentration. Sometimes he thinks he is surrounded, hundreds of them. All around him shapes moving, incomprehensible creatures that emerge and vanish at the end of his vision, so real he tries to touch them. He lifts then lowers his hands. He swallows hard, forces himself to breathe, growing calmer, sinking into darkness, slowly, the world vanishing into nothing again. He walks with his eyes enveloped in mist, focused on the sensation of moving forward, his legs, his arms, the hand that never leaves his shoulder.

They reach the bridge at the end of the night. It has been heavy going. The brush is thick on all sides. It resists parting. They have to fight their way, to hack and tear. The hacking and tearing leaves them exhausted. Surely it has to stop, to come to an end somehow. Then it does. They are at the threshold. They would have walked over, toppled, if it wasn’t the stick, suddenly floating, suspended, like the ground has fallen out. Below they can hear the water, the river cutting its course, a deep ravine. Number Three is the first to say it, we’re fucked, it’s impossible.

The bridge is wood and metal, one of the UN’s infrastructure projects that has been left uncompleted. Formidable ironwork and a barrier of crossbeams but the wooden planks have rotted, in places fallen away. There is no railing. The going is slow. They have to see the bridge with their hands and feet. They have to first build it before they can cross, the metal frame for support and then the slats. One tests each slat, steps, two behind him then Three. A rasping, someone struggling for breath, the soft bone-on-bone groan of hinges, parts too often employed in the same gestures. There is nothing to do but press forward. It is like that joke, how does a blind man drive a car? Four thinks this. He remembers it suddenly. He doesn’t know why. Why now, at this exact moment? He remembers the answer: One hand on the wheel; the other on the road. He starts to laugh. The joke is not funny, he knows that. The joke is nowhere near to funny but somehow he can’t stop himself, the laugh won’t go down, it bubbles then breaks the surface.

The sound startles number Five. She begins to wobble. The world around her spin and for a minute she loses her footing then, miraculously, regains it, miraculously because it’s only in this instant of imminent death that she feels alive, suddenly understands it, the difference between blindness and deadness, darkness and eternal darkness. It comes to her in a flash: she doesn’t want to die. She musters all her effort. She races through her body and finds her feet, holds out her right arm for balance. The sweat from her forehead streams into her eyes. She does nothing to stop it. She stands very still, everything suspended, afraid to breath even.

Then it comes, from behind, from the very back someone calls out. It goes down the line, travels and reaches her. She hears her number and suddenly it is happening again. She loses her footing, this time falling. No one knows, understands what is happening. They can’t see but they can feel it. For a moment everything’s fuzzed over and blurry, their collective body contracting as if zapped by an electric probe. An extended endless silence, then they hear the sound. Impossible! It is so faint, so distant, so undramatic after the build up. It sounds like a stone skimming the surface. A stone dropped to judge distance. But it is her, she has fallen.

Moving again, starting up, slowly, putting back the pieces. Seven is now Six. Six is Five. Five is Four. Stretching out their arms, looking for each other, hands struggling against the murky darkness covering their faces, feeling, one hand finds another, recognises the touches, embraces, linking arms to form a single body. Going, not thinking. It is better not to think, not to try and imagine what lies ahead. It is best simply to go, moving, responding reflexively to the acoustic sensors, the way sound bounces around objects and fills them out, how sound creates dimension and volume. Everything is visible and yet invisible, the curve of the horizon is rounded. The shape of the path as it forms in front of them. The path runs straight and then dips, winding slowly downward. They follow. They follow the sound of the river. At times it is nothing more than a gurgle then it picks up, they are moving very quickly now, they are gushing.

They are in a valley, or so One imagines it. Behind his dead eyes he sees the sides of the mountains rolling up. Sometimes he thinks it is like being inside his own head, his eye balls have flipped backward and he is seeing the white of the skull walls, the endless folds of grey matter. His whole life folded up inside him, suspended, something waiting to be resumed, as if the blindness is temporary, the whole thing is just a dream. He is at home in his bed. He can feel the change in the air. Dawn coming, a dawn that brings no light, an empty dawn, endless drab grey light that seemed more like the onset of night than the beginning of day. The heavy silence that descends as the sun rises. The silence is like a darkness, it covers everything.

They would have tripped right over the hump if it weren’t for the smell, rising up ahead of them, enough to make One gag. He freezes and backs up, causing the line to convulse, to dip then break at the centre. He stands very still then takes a step. Maybe it’s nothing, a dead dog or an animal carcass, they have passed others, always the smell first and then sounds of the birds, but none this fresh, rancid. He works against his stomach, lurching, pulling him back. He steps then kicks at the object. He feels the weight, a leaden deadness, the dead thing rolling then falling back. He can tell without needing to get any closer.

What is it? A voice comes down the line. Nothing, a dog. They should step over it and keep going, he knows that but something pulls him back. The dead thing has hands that grab, arms drawing him down. The dead thing demands his attention and he finds himself bending, stretches out his fingers. The face is cold and rigid but alive, crawling with flies that swarm up his hand, flicker against his face. He waves them away. He clears a path. The skin underneath is broken, peeling away but the structure is unmistakable. It is Four. The first Four. The man who left. The same hollow eyes, heavy cheekbones but now he is grinning, a wide grin, a grin that grows from ear to ear, gums peeled back in a big, broad, stupid, crescent smile.

It hangs above him for days afterward. It sits above his shoulders in the sky. He can’t shake it. He keeps returning and returning. He replays the day the Four left. He remembers he was pleased at the time, he remembers thinking, let him go. He thinks of the others. Thirteen, her little hands always groping, how her voice wobbled with confusion. Ten, Five, Four, not stopping, not even bothering to bury the corpses. Suddenly he doesn’t want to be One anymore. He wants to swap places. He wants to be Three or Four. Better yet he wants to move right to the back. He wants to simply drop off and disappear into the night.

A reshuffle. His idea is met with silence. They are already in a line. They know their places. It has taken so much time to build this basic formation, to get it to work, all the arms linking and legs lifting at the right pace. The machine is in place. The colony is moving, a line of black ants that cuts the landscape. Why change it now? Why fuck it up? Two is unmoved. Who would lead? I don’t know my left from right. Everything stalls. Finally he gives in. He has no choice. Two’s hand guides him, firm on his shoulder, familiar. See, how easy is it is? Her mouth is close to his ear. Her quiet voice cuts through the middle of his body, settles on top of his stomach.

He walks in a daze. The landscape flattens and expands. It makes concessions to accommodate his emptiness. The landscape has become a desert. In the stony white light their eyes are almost transparent, smashed irises under papery lids. The heat becomes more and more suffocating as they move. By midday it is too much, even number One can go no further. He calls a halt. The line spasms as the command runs down its ranks. The line breaks, a sudden scattering like a smashed object, a cup or a saucer, its contents evaporating. They sink down into the ground. Sit with their bony arses in the dirt. They do not speak. They wipe their hot shiny faces with the backs of their hands, shield their dead eyes against the sun even though its useless, too late, the damage is already done.

They have become lazy, careless. They travel during the day and sleep at night. They become children. They believe their blindness is a shield, a veil that covers and protects. They believe that because they cannot see they cannot be seen. They imagine themselves untouchable somehow. They push forward. They walk like dead men, let the vines whip their faces and branches tear at their clothes. They walk blindly. Blind faith. They have forgotten the enemy when it finally comes, a suffocating disturbance in the darkness, a thrum like beating wings. At first it feels like it is deep inside them, the vibration low and steady like the base-thump of a car passing, blasting music into the night. Slowing it rises, fills the earth with a deafening whir. It is number Three who gets it first: A helicopter! He is waving his hands when he says it. For a moment the others freeze. They don’t seem to understand then they run, scattering left and right. It is only Three that stays behind. He is transfixed, swept up by the pull of the blades, the whirlpool that spirals into the sky. He remembers the UN helicopters, their elongated white bodies. He thinks, this is my chance, my last chance. It’s now or never. He stretches up his hands to greet them. Everything has gone quiet, the bird and the blades, the beating of his heart in his chest and head, the spray of the bullets. His knees cave in but to him it feels like he is rising, the blades of the helicopter whiplash his skull.

Now there are three. Just like that, they stumble out of the jungle, wandering, limping. They find each other. They shake their heads, dazed; they stop, anaesthetized by the silence, then slowly, cautiously they begin again, a single ant instead of an army. You need eyes to see it. The first segment is the head. It leads, black and shiny, a thin feeler that probes and pokes, collects data, blind armour-like eyes that never blink. The second segment power its legs, ricketted spindles that lock and claw. The final black segment is the largest. It is blind and dumb, a dead weight that drags behind, weighs them down.

One and Two make the decision without words. They somehow know, the smells is unmistakable. It comes from him, the reek of perspiration, old grime and something else, what? They are thinking the same thing, One and Two. They have started to keep a distance. They know it’s only a matter of time. Every day he falls behind further. They have to stop and wait. Everyday, the distances grows, deepens, between them. One and then Two close on his heels, sticking to him like a shadow. Further back Three is calling out. They ignore him. That night they sleep close together. They rise early. Three is still asleep. They can hear him breathing, struggling for breath. They begin to move, taking each step carefully. They put their feet down in just the right places, not breathing more than is necessary.

The two are alone, One and Two, the man and the woman. The night stretches on endlessly, so does the mountain. They climb and climb, test the ground with the tips of their feet until they find solid footholds. They walk close, swaying, slipping, fighting to keep their balance. They do not part, never, even when they are snagged in the bristles of plants, even when they stumble on the loose rocks.

Give me your hand, she says. She holds it, she guides his fingers. She runs them along the nape of her neck, her face. She lets him touch each eye. She closes them and feels his hand on her eyelids, a sudden shock sensation like seeing again, feeling her eyes come alive. Her faces gains volume, shape, features. Her lips. Each lip, and parting them, pulling the fingers in with her tongue, heeling them in her mouth. How he searches, gaps and crannies, spaces she never even knew existed.

She pulls herself up and then slumps back down. She is too tired. The wound has split open again and there is a swelling. It is hot to the touch. It burns when she cups her hand. She lowers her head. She doesn’t want to go anymore. She sits in the dirt. She can feel him above her, his shadow over her. She tries to push him away but it is useless. He is too strong. Their bodies locked, struggling into an awkward embrace. He lifts her so easily, a sack of potatoes! He swings her so she hangs off him. Her hands clutch his shoulders, straddling his back she pushes her ear against him and listens to his heartbeat.

The tears surprise him. He didn’t know his eyes remembered how to cry. He feels the salt rise in his throat. He swallows hard but it won’t go down. His tongue lies heavy in his head, heavier than her. He carries her on his shoulder. At first it is easy. She seems so light, effortless in comparison to his own weight, the rock in his heart. He swings her up and over. He walks, pauses only occasionally to switch the load, from one shoulder to another, left to the right. Finally he carries her slumped in his arms. Her right arm hangs loose, away from her body so it drags in the dirt, traces a trail. He walks and then stops. He feels her slipping, a sudden release, a disequilibrium so he stumbles. He comes down on his knees next to her body. He rolls over and lies staring blindly upward. He breaths. He thinks he will rest, just for a while. There is no hurry.

* * *


Stacy Hardy is an editor at the pan African journal Chimurenga and a teacher in Rhodes University’s MA in Creative Writing Programme in Grahamstown, South Africa. Her writing has appeared in a wide range of publications, and several of her short stories have been published in books, literary anthologies and catalogues. An opera libretto written in collaboration with poet Lesego Rampolokeng and based on Amos Tutuola’s My Life in the Bush of Ghosts was published by Botsotso Publishing in 2013. Her short film I Love You Jet Li, created with Jaco Bouwer was awarded Best Experimental Film at the Festival Chileno Internacional Del Cortometraje De Santiago 2006 and included on the Influx 2010 DVD (Lowave, France). She has participated in numerous exhibitions around the world and is working on an ongoing series of multimedia works in collaboration with Angolan composer, performer and instrument designer Victor Gama. An anthology of her fiction, Because the Night was recently published by Pocko Books, London.