“I am a writer before I am a performer” – Conelius Jones


This year saw the inaugural annual Spoken Freedom Festival at the Market Theatre. The Festival sought to reflect on 20 years of freedom through the art of poetry.

The four-day affair played host to 14 of South Africa’s most exciting and influential voices. Conelius Jones gave a stellar performance that has earned him a Best Showcase nomination at this year’s Word N Sound Awards.

Tell us about this performance? Was there anything special for you? Did you enjoy it?
This performance felt like it was my first showcase, I suppose I felt like that because I hadn’t showcased my work in a while. It was special because my parents were in the audience, and I was sharing a stage with Napo Masheane and Makhafula Vilakazi.

What has been your highlight as a poet this year?
My highlight has been getting the chance tour and perform in Germany. This trip has actually been the highlight in my poetry career. I got to perform at the Berlin Poetry Festival, it was such an incredible experience and I enjoyed every moment of it.

Which poet have you really enjoyed hearing/reading/watching this year? Who should we be looking out for?
Xabiso Vili, Modise Sekgothe, Makhafula Vilakazi, Zewande Bhengu, Bafentse Ntlokoa. These poets have stood out this year, they are amazing writers and talented performers.

Who would you love to share a stage with and why?
Saul Williams. He just has so much passion when he’s on stage. I think being around someone like that would have a great influence on me as a performer.

Are you working on any interesting projects?
Everything is on hold at the moment. I’d like to focus more on my writing, I personally believe that is the essence of my craft. I am a writer before I am a performer. So the only thing I’m working on now is just growing as a writer.

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