African stars bring their fire to 10th Bushfire fest in Swaziland

The 10th edition of MTN Bushfire saw tens of thousands of people ‘bring their fire’ to Swaziland’s Malkerns Valley for a weekend of music, arts, culture and pure celebration.

Peter Solo of Vaudau Game at Bushfire in Swaziland. Photo: Dave Durbach / Music In Africa
Peter Solo of Vaudau Game at Bushfire in Swaziland. Photo: Dave Durbach / Music In Africa

Kicking off proceedings ahead of the main festival over the weekend, the MTN Bushfire Schools Festival created inclusive workshop and dialogues for Swazi youngsters.

On the morning of Friday 27 May, the annual Arts Round Table took place at the nearby Malkerns Country Club. The event provides a forum for musician and others working in the local music industry to share and gain knowledge and skills with leading industry professionals, while fostering exchange and regional networking opportunities. Presenting their secrets to success at the conference were local local hip-hop duo Siyinqaba, ground-breaking South African DJ Zinhle and veteran American musician and promoter George Worthmore, all of whom also performed over the weekend.

Representatives of Music In Africa and the African Music Development Programme (AMDP) were also given the opportunity to present their work and share some tips on the opportunities available to musicians within a pan-African context. Their joint presentation was well received by musicians and professionals in the Swazi music industry.

As the sun set on Friday evening, the main festival was officially opened with the traditional lighting of the fire. What followed was a weekend-long feast of music and culture. After the opening ceremony local reggae artist Pachanga kicked things off with her infectious local grooves. The first night’s headliners include French-based band Vaudau Game, led by charismatic Togolese frontman Peter Solo (who will also headline the upcoming Fete de la Musique in Johannesburg on 21 June), one of the many highlights of the weekend thanks to their relentlessly funky songs, air-tight rhythm section and matching retro outfits.