MTN BUSHFIRE SCHOOLS FESTIVAL: GLOW & BRO Joined by Rob van Vuuren and Ain The Machine

Created to counter the lack of a formal arts curriculum in eSwatini’s public schools, the MTN Bushfire High Schools’ Festival supported by MTN Bushfire, and the MTN Bushfire Primary Schools’ Festival supported by MTN Bushfire and the European Union, engage students from across the country in a week of interactive arts learning that precedes the main festival. The Schools’ Festivals combine the arts with social responsibility themes, to deliver a week of facilitator-led teacher and student workshops and performances.

Over 1500 students and teachers take part in the Schools Festival annually, and are selected via an open call application process conducted in the months leading up to the festival week.

As a direct result of the Schools Festival initiatives, the Kingdom of eSwatini’s Ministry of Education has engaged Bushfire and other industry stakeholders to assist in developing an arts curriculum in public schools as of 2017. The Festival along with the Ministry and industry stakeholders have made significant strides in 2018 towards finalizing the curriculum.

The MTN Bushfire Schools Festival 2019 is excited to welcome  well known performers including South Africa’s Rob van Vuuren and his wife Danielle Bischoff,   as well as as European audio-visual storyteller, Ain the Machine as facilitators for the excting program that will take place in the build-up to the MTN Bushfire Festival.

The program for both high school and primary students will be run by a range of local and regional partners and will Include a two-day session focused on self-care training for teachers, and a gender focused session for high school students.

Rob van Vuuren is a household name in South Africa, he is Twakkie from the Most Amazing Show, the guy who shucksed Shuster in Shucks Tshabalala, the record breaking winner of Strictly Come Dancing, the voice of Takeshi’s Castle Thailand on Comedy Central Africa and the star of a host of other film and television shows. He is a multi award winning comedian, having bagged no less than four Standard Bank Ovation Awards for comedy and the Breakthrough Act Award winner at the Comics Choice Awards.

Rob and his wife Danielle have written two enormously successful children’s books together and are currently touring with the accompanying show to their second book, Florence and Watson present the Great Pangolin Mystery.

Danielle Bischoff has worked professionally in the film, photographic and theatre industry and has always had a passion for the visual arts. In 2013 she exhibited her work ‘Lucky’ at the AVA Gallery in Cape Town.

Ain The Machine is an audiovisual storyteller with a clear goal: to transform the way we interact with music. It is music without instruments. A concept he calls Música Biotronica. Created by Ain The Machine, Música Biotronica takes sounds from the body, voice & everyday objects, and with the help of technology, transforms them into music. A symbiosis of organic and synthetic, its purpose is to redefine our relationship with music and demonstrate that music is accessible to all, a universal right.

The MTN Bushfire School Festival programs are coordinated and run by some of the region’s most well respected organisations working within the youth development space.

The drama group Waterford ka-Mhlaba made up of students from all races, genders, and nationalities will be joining the GLOW + BRO Peace Corps initiatives to facilitate this year’s MTN Bushfire Schools’ Festival. The group uses Forum Theatre to teach and train students to express themselves and take ownership of their situations.

GLOW & BRO mainly focuses on the youth gender based, GLOW (Girls Leading Our World) aimed to empower young girls and improve the status of women around the world, BRO (Boys Reaching Out) aimed at empowering young Swazi men to create health change in their lives and the lives of others. GLOW & BRO seeks in Eswatini, and a world, where young boys and girls are inspired to dream big and live in societies which fully support them in achieving their goals.

Sharon Simelane, is a GLOW Senior Counselor who has been volunteering with GLOW Eswatini since 2013. She has provided capacity building trainings in girls’ empowerment and adherence to healthy living for HIV positive youth. She prescribes by Maya Angelou’s words – “When you know better, you do better.”

Nozipho Ndzabandzaba is a GLOW Senior Counselor and teacher. She has been serving GLOW Eswatini for the past 4 years. Not only does she run her GLOW club in Lushikishini teaching life skills curriculum, she has also facilitated peer education sessions on HIV/AIDS, gender-based violence prevention and LGBTQIA+ advocacy.

Richard Sifundza, currently leading two BRO clubs in the Mnjoli area, joined BRO as a club counselor in 2015, after being exposed to a BRO lesson on resolving conflict without violence. His favorite lessons to impart to Swati youth are “planning for your future” and “redefining manhood.”

Banele Mavuso joined BRO in 2015, and he was excited to bring more men together to discuss issues of masculinity and adulthood.

For more information please visit: https://www.bush-fire.com/bring-your-fire/schools-festival/