Words by: Mmamello Matake
In an enchanting endeavour to unveil the vibrant essence of Africa, Fifty-Four Mag embarked on a captivating journey to the mesmerising MTN Bushfire Festival in Eswatini. The festival, steeped in rich history, unfolded as a gentle yet unforgettable experience that surpassed all expectations. Each moment was infused with the tapestry of Africa’s diverse cultures, from the ethereal landscapes encountered on the journey to the majestic festival grounds.
Located within the Malkern Valley on Malandela Farm, the MTN Bushfire Festival unfolded with grace and grandeur. The stages, adorned with diversity, offered a multidimensional experience for festivalgoers. A symphony of enchantment echoed through the crowd, from the captivating amphitheatre performances to the sprawling main stage. Renowned artists such as Sho Madjozi and Kabza de Small ignited pure joy, fueling an infectious energy that permeated the atmosphere.
The Ballantines Stage, though modest in size, magnetised music enthusiasts with its pulsating beats, drawing them into its rhythmic embrace. Adjacent to it, the Jagermeister House provided a haven of intimacy amidst the bustling festival grounds. Carefully curated music selections wafted through the air, offering respite from the crowd and an opportunity to revel in blissful harmony. The festival’s seamless cashless system further enhanced the experience, granting attendees the freedom to load funds onto their wristbands and indulge in the diverse offerings, including the exquisite Mongi Botanical Shea Butter from the barn market.
The MTN Bushfire Festival celebrated not only the arts but also the diverse culinary delights of Africa. The array of food stalls beckoned with flavours from Lesotho, Asian delicacies, and American corn dogs, captivating the taste buds of festivalgoers. Moreover, the festival embraced non-profit organisations dedicated to youth empowerment, adding an inspirational touch and fostering a platform for dialogue. Traditional dancers, carnival acts, and performances in the melodious Siswati language further enriched the cultural tapestry of the event.
As the festival came to a close, the team found themselves deeply moved by Ibeyi’s awe-inspiring performance, an embodiment of their Afro-French Cuban heritage. It was a revelation that stirred emotions and brought tears to the eyes of the audience, a testament to the profound power of music. The MTN Bushfire Festival became a transformative experience, whisking attendees away on a magical journey, momentarily transcending reality.
The MTN Bushfire Festival in Eswatini left an indelible mark, leaving behind a legacy of enchantment, cultural celebration, and a poignant reminder of the richness and diversity that Africa emanates. It served as a vibrant celebration, weaving together the threads of Africa’s beauty and heritage for all to cherish and appreciate.