Meet Jonathan Lefenya, who is a Soweto spoken word artist whose work flings open the narrow window of language through which we are accustomed to describing reality and in so doing, compels both Self and audience to reflect on the plight and plethora of the human condition. Growing up he had neither a sense of the world nor his place in it, so the poet uses writing as a metaphor for control. He started out writing when he went for a WordNSound poetry session.
It was held in Soweto and there he met Mutle Mothibe. Mutle Mothibe invited him into the theatre where poets rehearsing. The whole experience was quite humbling. So after having witnessed the poets performing on stage, he decided right there and then that this is something he wanted to do. After that he knew he wanted to embark on a journey to becoming a poet and that whole ideal invoked something in him and he has been writing ever since.
As a performance poet, his work is that of remarkable pliability and nuance. On the slam poetry stage, his art is known for its’ pathos and piercing nature, which appeals to the delicate senses of the audience. In the past two years, Jonathan has received several titles, some of which includes; three-time WordNSound King of the mic, Winner of the Youth Art competition at the Roodepoort theatre (2019), World of Words slam Top 5 (2019), WordNSound Best Newcomer nominee (2018) and winner of the College Poetry Competition, 2 years running (2017-2018), both regional and provincial. He is inspired by the likes of Modise Sekgothe, Koleka Putuma, Keorapetse Kgosietsile, Noluthando Buthelezi, Mutle Mothibe and Vusimuzi Phakathi.
Jonathan is heavily influenced by his grandmother's story telling, growing up listening to old folktales was the best part of his childhood. There wasn't a day he went to sleep without listening to his grandmother's stories. This helped him shape his imagination. In a way, he fell in love with writing without even knowing it. His grandmother is the reason behind his inspiration as far as his writing is concerned.
We asked him who he looks up to the most and he said, "But when it comes to me being a poet, it has to be Mutle Mothibe. We had a conversation once where I told him I would like to share a stage with him. At the time I had never stepped on stage. And what he told me was that, if I work tirelessy, it will come to fruition. And surely, it did. I believe him having been kind and super gracious towards me set me on a path I now find myself on, you know. I honestly believe I wouldn’t be here without him. So, Thank you Mutle for that."
As far as the five year plan is concerned is launching a poetry animation series and that is something he has wanted to do in the longest time and he feels he owes it to himself to achieve such a milestone.
In the next five to ten years he hopes to be a renown poet, not only nationally but internationally as well. He wants to grace the international stages, he has always wanted to perform for Button Poetry so that would be a great leap for his career. Jonathan would also love to publish his own poetry anthology and a get a great illustrator and give himself to the craft.
Jonathan is a true inspiration because he is truly determined to achieve all his goals accordingly. We hope to see and hear about him on our screens and stages!