Siphokazi Jonas brings Around The Fire to Artscape this week

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Following the success of her Wrestling With Dawn production, in late 2015, and 2016’s sold-out masterpiece, Around The Fire, the much-applauded producer, playwright, performer,poet and UCT Masters graduate, Siphokazi Jonas, is rekindling Around The Fire this week in Cape Town.

Not one to rest on her laurels, Jonas has unpacked, rebuilt and infused the original 90-minute stage production for its Artscape, Arena reveal from 7 to 11 August 2018 in Cape Town.

With the world having been tossed and turned in all directions, both socially and politically, so many of the original production’s themes have evolved to acknowledge the like of the #metoo movement and other global social media realities touching almost everyone’s lives today.

Staying true to the original South African script, the entirely accessible and adapted narrative unfolds within a unique fusion of theatre, poetry and live music.

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I spoke to Siphokazi last week during rehearsals at Artscape.

When are you happiest?

Spending guilt-free time with family and friends or at the beach; these are the times when I am most at ease.

What does poetry mean to you?

The ability to imagine new worlds and experiences through the written and spoken word. Speaking gives life and I love to give life through poetry to our better selves, healing, hope, and faith.

What is the most enjoyable aspect of your work?

How people respond to it. When the work impacts another person and opens them up emotionally, I am always blown away. It means we find common ground in our humanity; there are few things more satisfying than that. I also just love playing with words, to find the most creative way to express something completely ordinary.

What drives you…? Ego or Humility?

Surely saying “humility” would be the most egotistical answer! I am striving towards humility and away from ego; it is a lifelong pursuit. Ego gets in the way of truth.

Any funny moments on stage?

Plenty! Usually bantering with lively audiences. I love weaving humor with storytelling.

Your heroes?

People who choose conviction over public opinion.

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Which living person do you admire most and why?

I’m going to choose two: Dr. Trevor Jones (the film composer ) and Serena Williams.

It simply doesn’t get more “on top of your game’ than that. Both started on the back foot and have put in more than their ten thousand hours in their craft. They value relationships and are completely unfazed by the magnitude of their achievements.

What is your most treasured possession?

A dollar I kept from my first ever trip to the USA. It represents the first time that the world “shrunk” for me and my goals became much bigger.

It’s your round what are you drinking?

Cappuccino.

Dream gig to do?

I’ve already done one of them in LA in 2016. The second would be a super bowl half time with Beyoncé. I’ve actually dreamed about this twice… The second would be on the Daily Show with Trevor Noah, just for that South African connection!

What makes you stand out?

I care deeply about both the work and the people on the other side of the microphone or pen. I am always willing to learn.

Nicknames?

Nonkie.

If you were not a poet what would you do?

I would be an inventor/MacGyver type.

Pick five words to describe yourself?

Relentless. Empathetic. Flawed. Trier. Does-not-like-to-be-limited-to-five-words.

5 poets books we must read?

Job (in the Bible), Koleka Putuma’s Collective Amnesia, Ron Villanueva’s Reliquaria, Anything by Gabeba Baderoon and my upcoming poetry collection.

Greatest Movie Ever Made?

The Lion King!

What poem changed your life?

I will wait for you” by Jeanette Watson. It wasn’t necessarily the poem but watching her perform it was life-changing and led me down a path which ended up in friendship and performing on the same stage in LA 5 years later.

Who do you love?

Quite a few people. I am working to add myself to that list without reservation.

What is your favorite word?

Asemrowend.

Favorite Fashion Garment

Pyjamas.

Give us some real proper slang and what it means

Cava (Zulu) – to understand/“get it”

Top of your bucket list?

Travel to every continent in the world.

Your greatest achievement?

Trying to make a living as a full-time artist even though I have tried and failed before. I am convinced that I can do it.

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What do you complain about most often?

Being busy.

What is your fear?

Not being able to show my parents appreciation for supporting me on this path despite their own fears and reservations.

Happiness is?

Living out your purpose.

On stage I tend to?

Lose sense of where I am.

The best life lesson I have been taught.

Pursue excellence not perfection.

Where would you like to be right now?

The USA collaborating with some of my favorite poets and working to improve in a different environment. Also trying to connect with Beyoncé and Trevor so that we can put together those dream gigs. Maybe I can also get Dr Trevor Jones to recommend my upcoming poetry collection as a must-read!

Wishes and dreams for 2018?

Being better with taking care of the “vessel”. The success of my current production, Around the Fire enough to tour with it. Launching a schools’ poetry project, Page the Stage. Add more hours in my craft towards the ten thousand goal.

You tube links to go with article



Social media links

Facebook: Siphokazi Jonas

Twitter and Instagram: @Siphokazi_J

12 DEC wedding – thanks

Hi Martin!

Thank you SOOOOO much!

Wedding was really great – everyone raving about how fantastic you were!!

…and my brother and sister-in-law are extremely happy.

Thanks to both you and Steve for everything that you did.

Chat soon!

Matt

Yours in leading entertainment,

Matthew Cook
STAR TRACKERS

Thank you for function on Sunday 18 Oct 2009

Hi Martin

I took the day off yesterday so only got your message now.

Thank you so much for all your hard work organising Goldfish and setting everything up, we had the most amazing time. Everything turned out even better than I’d anticipated and the surprise factor was very effective. We now have 4 years to start saving for the next one so be prepared…

Thanks again.

Janine Glanz

THANK YOU NOTE PRIVATE PARTY SUNDAY 18 OCT

Dear Martin

Many thanks for all your efforts, stage,  sound,  lighting, band and background music unbelievable, made our party special.

Regards
Stephen Glanz
Investec Securities
36 Hans Strijdom Avenue
Foreshore
Cape Town
8001

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