Berlin - Naniso Tswai is a South African author, academic and spoken word artist.

How are you coping with not being able to perform?

In all honesty, apart from the financial toll, artistically it has been a blessing in disguise. Often as artists we are rushing around to perform our next show and write new material, which comes at a certain cost. This year has proven itself to be a great opportunity to get back to just writing and completing unfinished projects. I am not saying that I would like it to last forever, but so far it has been a welcome break, artistically speaking of course

What do you miss during the corona pandemic?

For sure, there is a buzz of adrenaline that comes with performing and hosting events, and the whole social thing that accompanies it, but I have found that I have not missed it as much as I thought that I would. I guess that I do miss walking into a new bar and stumbling upon an unexpected show, be it musical or other.  

Naniso Tswai

Originally from South Africa, Naniso Tswai is a Berlin-based author, academic and artist. His work is strongly embedded in broader issues of justice, particularly as these relate to human rights and identity. Over the past 10 years he has shifted his focus from academic writing to more artistic pursuits. This has come in the form of storytelling and spoken word. He is the founder of Wicked Projects and co-director of Berlin Spoken Word.

What have you been working on creatively during lockdown?

I have always had a talent for starting stories but never going back to finish them, so I have been going back and trying to finish things, or invariably deleting them as they were not worth finishing. I have also been - and I don't imagine that I am alone in this - working on projects to launch for a post-corona world. Specifically, I am working on organising an international spoken word festival, which I hope will take place in the summer of 2021. The festival will be a celebration of spoken word art, showcasing its diversity and potential as an artistic and political form of communication and intervention.  

Any recommendations on what do in Berlin during lockdown to fight boredom and stay sane?

Well, we just had a baby, which I strongly recommend. It has kept us focused and busy, and most importantly, sane during these unusual times. I believe that the term for a baby born this year is a “Coronial”. If that option is not available, then I recommend limiting your online time, taking long walks and buying a Netflix subscription for those difficult days.

What are you looking forward to most when the pandemic is over?

That is easy... travelling. For all of Berlin's amazing facets and qualities, these past months have been a bit claustrophobic, and it will feel good to hop on a plane and see something else for a while. Oh, and dancing... that seems like ancient history. In all seriousness though, I am not sure what the new normal will be post-corona, but I hope that things will not just go back to exactly how they used to be. Ultimately, I am optimistic that this challenging year will gift people with a new-found sense of appreciation for how lucky we are.