Backlit by fiery mountain sunsets across acres of pristine farmland in the Malkerns Valley, MTN Bushfire is Swaziland’s internationally acclaimed three-day world music and arts festival that celebrates creative expression whilst promoting social responsibility, stimulating the economy and drawing talent and tourists from across Africa and around the world. It’s taking place this weekend, 29-31 May.
Founded in 2007, Bushfire has a well-deserved reputation for its visionary approach, integrity and ‘call to action’ mandate, which defines its commitment to nurturing the Swazi arts and cultural scene while raising awareness and funds to tackle the nation’s most pressing social needs. Donating 100% of its profits to orphans through the Swazi NGO Young Heroes and 100% of merchandise proceeds to the non-profit rural community development project Gone Rural boMake, MTN Bushfire serves, in the words of one journalist, “as a living, breathing, creative ecosystem”.
In preparation for the upcoming festivities, on Saturday 23 May the Clean Up Mahlanya Campaign took to the streets, in collaboration with MTN Bushfire and Mahlanya Environmental Club, to help raise awareness about the importance of caring for the environment and recycling. The volunteer teams picked litter and debris from the roads, market and surrounding areas of Mahlanya and sorted it ready for recycling. The event hosted environmental talks from Pick It Up Waste Solution Company, Eco Swaziland and local artist Raymond Mhiski of Pachimana Weaving.
There were also community-painting workshops facilitated by Yebo! Art Reach with children from the Moya Centre’s afternoon club and The Seed Girl’s Group, who decorated the waste and recycling bins you’ll see all around the MTN Bushfire site. The festval organisers hope the newly painted bins and increased recycling signage will encourage people to help to recycle even more waste material than ever before at MTN Bushfire 2015.
MTN Bushfire invites everyone to ‘Bring Your Fire’ and ignite a collective response for positive social change. The festival recognises the importance of caring for our surroundings and actively encourages environmental and sustainability initiatives, such as the Clean Up Campaign, that help generate awareness and education in our communities. Bushfire’s Green Mandate uses the mantra: ‘Reuse, Reuse, Recycle’, which is why waste materials are reused and reinvented to contribute towards the festival construction. For example, recycled materials such as wooden pallets are used to construct 95% of the Handcraft and Design Marketplace. In collaboration with Pick It Up Waste Solution, over 10 000kg of glass, 800kg of plastic, 750kg of cans and 1 200kg of cardboard was recycled from festival waste at MTN Bushfire 2014.