MTN BUSHFIRE GIVES BACK
MTN BUSHFIRE Gives Back to the Local Community
In addition to providing world-class entertainment with a strong underlying call to social responsibility, MTN BUSHFIRE also gives back to the local Swazi community through a wide range of programs.
Each year, MTN BUSHFIRE brings singers, dancers, actors, poets, and other artists together at the vibrant House on Fire in Malkerns, Swaziland, for a weekend colorful, spirited celebration. However, beyond this remarkable display of cultural unity and social responsibility, something more occurs; indeed, a profound spirit of giving back to the community is engendered and practiced at the festival. The support and passion that attendees bring to the MTN BUSHFIRE Festival is reciprocated through the festival’s numerous public outreach programs, which include support for HIV affected orphans, supporting local art and talent, and educational outreach for the youth of the nation.
Perhaps the most well known form of social compassion practiced by MTN BUSHFIRE is its donation to Young Heroes, a local NGO that supports children in Swaziland whose families have been affected by HIV/AIDS. Every year, the MTN BUSHFIRE Festival donates 100% of its profits to the organization, providing the funds to sponsor thousands of children who face the hardship of HIV in the family. Since the festival’s inception in 2007, more than E533,000 has been raised for this benevolent organization, and an invaluable amount of awareness has been raised for the plight of HIV affected orphans. Artists and spectators alike play an integral role in generating this immense sum – it is one of the key ways in which MTN BUSHFIRE unifies people under the principle of socially responsibility and altruism.
In keeping with the notion of local change and influence, MTN BUSHFIRE is proud to support Swazi talent in the realm of the arts. The vast majority of artists at the festival are homegrown Swazi, providing a platform to showcase local art to an international audience. The festival has recently adopted an initiative known as 100% Seriously Swazi, which provides a forum for Swazi artists to present their best song, dance, poetry, and rhythm to a wide gathering of international artists and engaged listeners. In addition, all profits from merchandise sold at the festival support Gone Rural boMake, a Swazi crafts company that provides economic assistance to rural women and their communities. In supporting arts from the roots of Swaziland, MTN BUSHFIRE helps to establish Swazi art in a larger global context.
MTN BUSHFIRE also recognizes the importance of engaging today’s youth in the arts. This recognition manifests itself in the Bushfire Schools’ Festival, an arts education workshop focused on providing access, inspiring confidence, and encouraging creative expression in students who would otherwise lack access to a comprehensive arts education program. By sponsoring arts education, MTN BUSHFIRE provides a medium for interconnectivity between the schools of Swaziland, allowing students and teachers to communicate with each other and establish common ground via artistic expression.
In addition to social outreach, MTN Bushfire has also proven itself highly beneficial to Swazi economy – this is evident merely by taking a brief look at the numbers:
- In 2011, MTN BUSHFIRE generated about ZAR12 million in tourist receipts.
- For every ZAR1 put into the festival, ZAR6 is generated for the Swazi economy.
- The festival directly employs over 1000 people.
Clearly, the money put into MTN BUSHFIRE is injected back into the Swazi economy on an augmented scale, thus encouraging economic growth.
When considering the active messages of sustainability, support and care for children, education, and prosperity that accompany MTN BUSHFIRE, there is a notable common strain – indeed, these are all big ideas that bring about big changes in Swaziland. However, these changes are only possible through a collaboration of organizers, artists, and attendees, all of whom bring their ‘fire’ of compassion and social responsibility to the celebration.
For more information on how Bushfire Gives Back, check out this page on our website.
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Official Photographers - Bram Lanmers and Sydelle Willow-Smith