MTN Bushfire is turning 10 and is celebrating with an amazing line-up of regional and international artists, along with the multitude of arts and cultural activities that make up the annual MTN Bushfire experience.
MTN Bushfire is also proud to celebrate 10 years of #BRINGYOURFIRE – the inspired call to action that encourages proactive and individual contributions to social change. The creative programme of workshops, discussions, art exhibitions and guest speakers enable platforms for conversation and debate to better understand the issues surrounding us, from community level challenges to global concerns.
For the last three years MTN Bushfire has run a Live Online Dialogue during the festival, replicating the open space of the festival online and actively encouraging our audience, artists, sponsors and partners to engage around the theme of ‘Bring Your Fire’.
To celebrate our 10th anniversary, MTN Bushfire will countdown to the festival with 10 days of live online dialogues – an open invitation to bring to life #BRINGYOURFIRE. Festival goers, partners, sponsors and interested parties are encouraged to become active participants in these live online dialogues in the lead-up to this year’s festival.
Each day will focus on a different theme or aspect of Bushfire’s history in the last decade including Arts and Design, Swazi Tourism, Gone Rural, Young Heroes, Environmental Impact, Arts Round Table, Artistic Collaborations, and more.
Festival Founder and Director Jiggs Thorne has this to say on the 10th anniversary edition of MTN Bushfire: “MTN Bushfire has illuminated and inspired over the last ten years and in the process has become a celebrated African festival. Through our ideals and our actions we continue to explore and redefine the typical festival formula. In doing this we ask questions of ourselves, of artists, and of our audiences: How best do we shape the Festival we have created, and what do we want to say? What role should the arts play in our society? How do we become Practical Dreamers? Exploring these questions defines our festival and is the real spirit that people take away!”
The Live Online Dialogue runs for 10 days from 18 to 27 May, from 2pm to 4pm on each day apart from the Arts Round Table on 27 May, when the conversation will be continued all day throughout the day’s programme.
18 May – Gone Rural boMake – #BoMake
19 May – Young Heroes – #YoungHeroes
20 May – Environmental Sustainability – #GreenYourFire
21 May – Legacy Project – #BushfireLegacy
22 May – Arts, crafts, food & design – #TradingFair
23 May – Arts Education – #Arts4All
24 May – Creative Economy – #CultureFixSD
25 May – Swazi Arts Development – #SeriouslySwazi
26 May – MTN Bushfire Collaborations – #BushfireCollabs
27 May – Arts Round Table – #ART2016
These conversations will be hosted on MTN Bushfire’s Twitter feed (@bushfirefest). Each day, a conversation topic, including a hashtag, will be pinned to the feed. Use #WeAre10 and daily discussion hashtags to join the conversation on Twitter
Gone Rural BoMake – 18 May
Gone Rural, inspired by 750 women weavers, is a revolutionary leader in social enterprise and rethinks and transforms craft, taking it to new heights globally. Through its community-led approach it seeks to empower communities through capacity building and access to information. Programs provide access to basic services; health, education, community development, water, sanitation & hygiene. The discussion will look at the importance of social enterprise within the Swaziland environment and beyond.
Young Heroes – 19 May
Since the very first MTN Bushfire, the festival has donated to Young Heroes, a child sponsorship programme that assists Swaziland’s orphan families to stay together by funding essentials such as food and clothing. MTN Bushfire is fiercely committed to promoting HIV prevention with emphasis on condom use, HIV testing and facilitating dialogue about Social Behaviour Change. This dialogue will look at the progress to date and the path forward.
Environmental Sustainability – 20 May
As people become increasingly aware and concerned about the environmental impact of human activities, many events have taken the proactive choice to become focus points for environmental awareness and activism. MTN Bushfire is one such festival, and has instituted various recycling, energy-saving and tree-planting programmes within the broader festival. On site, The Barn is a space dedicated to dialogue and exploration of current social issue and environmental issues in Swaziland. MTN Bushfire is also hosting an activation by Sunshine Cinema, the international network of solar-powered cinemas, this year. A lively dialogue will engage on these initiatives as well as address the larger environmental issues relevant to the region.
MTN Bushfire Legacy Project – 21 May
This year MTN Bushfire launched the Legacy Project, an annual community outreach programme aiming to promote skills sharing within our local community and ultimately to ensure more local participation at MTN Bushfire itself. Sponsored by Rhodes Food Group, the project involves youth from Malkerns, Mahlanya and Luyengo on a two-week creative workshop journey. Facilitated by Pelepele the participating team will create five giant puppets and two skits on positive social behavioural change messaging provided by Lusweti. This annual project seeks to inspire sustained community involvement in MTN Bushfire and ultimately develop a local performing arts troupe that creates year round.
Arts, Crafts, Food & Design – 22 May
The MTN Bushfire Marketplace exists to spark creativity and exchange and is an ethical consumers’ dream, with each company or artisan contributing in a positive way to the environment and their communities. Ethical arts, crafts, design and food will spark an interesting discussion on their impact directly on Tourism Swaziland, as well as the economic and environmental aspects of the festival.
Arts Education – 23 May
By presenting creative performances, workshops, educational seminars and interactive outreach programmes for participants from primary and high schools, as well as teachers throughout the country, MTN Bushfire brings to light the importance of the arts and underlines the various ways of using arts education to empower students through knowledge, self-expression, comprehensive sexual health education and individualized action. A discussion around the role of the arts in education and its many benefits will take place on this day.
Creative Economy (including Tourism) – 24 May
An independent study conducted by the Danish Centre for Cultural Development (DCCD) concluded that typically for every SZL1 spent by MTN Bushfire, SZL6 is generated for the Swazi economy. In 2015 this equated to some E33 million generated for the local economy through external businesses benefitting from the increase in tourism. What is the best way to showcase Swaziland’s attractions? How important is tourism to Swaziland’s development? Who sees the benefits of tourism, and how can the arts sector play a positive developmental role in the Swazi context? This dialogue will unpack these numbers and look at the long term and sustainable impacts of the festival.
Swazi Arts Development – 25 May
In conjunction with Swaziland National Council of Arts and Culture, MTN Bushfire seeks to showcase emerging talent. Since MTN Bushfire’s inception, numerous opportunities have been offered to empower and promote local artists. Over 800 local artists have performed at MTN Bushfire over the years with several acts moving on to become well known performers, including Bholoja, PelePele, Nomzamo, Nancy G, and Flow E among others. Join some of these artists to discuss the state of the Swazi music scene and ideas for the way forward.
Artistic collaborations – 26 May
Artistic collaborations between local and international artists are a crucial part of MTN Bushfire’s programmes. The value of artistic collaboration lies in the mutual respect and exposure created, as well as the seeding of new and interesting ideas, the creation of unique art and the development of artists. This dialogue will look at the importance of collaboration in supporting and promoting local artists.
Arts Round Table – 27 May
MTN Bushfire’s Arts Round Table provides interaction with top industry professionals on how to succeed in the performing arts. Join us in an engaging discussion with some of the region’s arts professionals and experts. This year’s guest speaker is DJ Zinhle, while the programme will also include presentations from local hip-hop duo Siyinqaba, the African Music Development Programme and Music in Africa.
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