Monday, December 11, 2023

MTN Bushfire- Swaziland: cultural unity through music

The 6th annual MTN Bushfire, which was held at the famous House on Fire in Malkerns, Swaziland, over the weekend, was a forceful display of art, poetry and dance that gives African artists the respect they deserve.

The show, which brings artists, poets and dancers from the rest of Africa, managed to bring spectators from all over the world to experience a weekend of cultural unity through music.
Although no artist from Botswana performed at this year’s event, last year Shanti Lo raised the flag high and represented the country with a performance at the show.

This year the show had a majority of artists from South Africa, with the likes of Mango Groove, Revolution, Joe Nina, Mxo, Micasa, Tshepo Tshola and Jeremy Loops among others.

The three-day show, which is deemed Swaziland’s International Festival of the Arts, started on Friday evening and kicked off on a high note. Mango Groove had their fans all crazed up.

The lead singer of the band, Claire Johnston, showed that indeed she had not lost her touch as she reminded the fans of why they still like the band after its many years in the industry.
The band performed their old songs, including the hit slow jam Moments Away.

Swaziland-born Nancy G and her soulful band, the Human Family, took the stage after Mango Groove and they too did not disappoint. Immediately after followed a performance by Mxo who was later joined on stage by Joe Nina.

The twin brothers of Revolution came next and opened their act with their trending song of the moment, Teka Moneke, and followed it up with an old school set of kwaito mix.

Saturday proved to be the jam packed day with the audience doubling up as some even came with kids.
The giant puppets of Mozambique proved to be a favourite among both the kids and adults as they went around with their band and danced.

Other performers who stole the show for the day are Jeremy Loops, Swaziland’s own music man, Bholoja, who had the crowd enjoying his song, From Zero to Hero.

The highlight came in the evening when NigerianÔÇôGerman singer Ayo took to the stage. The singer, who came clad in a pair of short jeans, a military camouflage coloured jacket and sneakers, had fans shouting her name. After performing a song or two and declaring that her fans were too far from her, Ayo jumped off the stage and climbed up the barricading fence where she continued singing. She then jumped over the fence and went over directly into the crowd where she sang Bob Marley’s Three Little Birds and sampled the introduction of Buffalo Soldier, which the excited crowd proudly sang along to.

Ayo also did a bit of Beyonce’s Single Ladies, Alicia Keys’ No One and Murder She Wrote by Maxi Priest.

Sunday had its own kind of hype and had those present going to the Barn to see the exhibitions done by Mark Lewis and Richard Grant. Music lovers, however, still enjoyed their music.
Legendary Tshepo Tshola, also known as the Village Pope, showed that age is nothing but a number with his dance moves.

Other artists who were part of the Bushfire include Saul Williams, Monotone, Sakaki Mango and Limba Train Sound System, Joy Ndwandwe and The Brother Moves On.

The show had five stages, which were The House on Fire Amphitheatre, The Barn, The Main Stage, Malandela’s Lawn and Mahlanya House, which were all busy with activity for all the days of the show.


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