“To provoke, enlighten and activate”

 “To provoke, enlighten and activate” – The Barn, a crucible of ideas, conversation, curiousity and art at MTN BUSHFIRE 2012



From the 25th to the 27th of May, the Malandela’s farm in Swaziland will be transformed into a magical haven when a host of artists, musicians, celebrities, actors and Swaziland’s most inspired thinkers descend onto the picturesque venue for MTN BUSHFIRE 2012: Swaziland’s International Festival of the Arts.


The latest addition to the festival arena is a reconfigured shed called The Barn, sponsored by Mozambican people’s paper @verdade. The Barn will be devoted to stimulating dialogue surrounding pertinent and topical issues in Swaziland, and will play host to talks, live performance and exhibitions from Swaziland's most inspired thinkers.


Festival Director Jiggs Thorne states “MTN BUSHFIRE fervently believes in the power of art not just to entertain but to provoke, to enlighten, to activate. It is so important that the festival acknowledges this potential and provides a platform where it can take place…


The interdisciplinary nature of our programme means that we have individuals from all walks of life sharing their ideas on how we, as a community, can positively evolve and develop Swaziland in the 21st Century.“


A Talk Shop


This year’s inaugural programme will feature – internationally acclaimed actor, Swaziland-born Richard E Grant, whose illustrious career includes the magnificent 1987 cult movie Withnail and I. Richard will be interviewed on the relationship between art and politics as well as the process of filmmaking with particular reference to Wah Wah, a film he made about his childhood in Swaziland. Following his interview, the floor will be opened to the public for discussion.


Also on the line-up is a unique cross-cultural Country Music collaboration between American duo Doster & Engle and Swazi artists Dusty & Stones. Joining them are Swaziland's premier poets Rooted Soulz as well as revolutionary musicians Tonik, who redefine the live music experience through their silent gigs in unconventional spaces.


The weekend will see African Humanism Empowerment workshops by cultural researcher and author Joy Ndwandwe; readings by South African poet Phillippa Yaa de Villiers; and "We grow what we don’t eat and eat what we don't grow..." – a talk focused on Swazi food and contemporary lifestyle by activist Dolores Godeffroy.




A short documentary on Austin Hleza and two short films from Matty Rood and Rodan Kane Hart.


Fine Art & Installation


Experience “Tabula Rasa” - a space intervention by artists Pablo Swezey (Guatamala) and Luis Paredes (El Salvador) in collaboration with members of the local Mahklanya community. The work Tabula Rasa consists of painting a local living room (or any other specific space) completely white thereby erasing the room’s  original culture. The space is transformed into a new canvas or “white cube” where a photograph of the room showing it’s original form/culture is exhibited as the only work in the “new gallery”. The project aims to initiate a reflective dialogue about culture, identity, memory, colonialism and globalisation, cultural loss and recovery and much more.


The atmospheric work of photographer Mark Lewis, South African artist Vumelani Sibeko and abstract painter Ray Berman will shake audiences to life with their riveting visual exhibits. Also making an appearance are Yebo Gallery artists – Swazi locals, Peter Armstrong (sculptor, potter and screen-printer) and up-and-coming artists Mesuli Mamba and Mbongeni Fakudze, (who works with multimedia, digital and mixed media to create installations and artworks) will exhibit their work alongside interdisciplinary Zambian artist Joseph Mushipi.


In addition to the music programme and thought-provoking line-up in The Barn, MTN BUSHFIRE also has a Fair Trade Handcraft Market, a Food Fair, and a KidZone. The festival contributes to local business development, creates jobs for locals and donates 100% of its profits to fund some of the country's most pressing social needs. For tickets, programme and accommodation information visit www.bushfire.co.sz.

Founding Graphic Design Partner - Vincent Caudry.
Official Photographers - Bram Lanmers and Sydelle Willow-Smith
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