5 min read
The MTN Bushfire Festival 2024 was an exciting celebration of culture, arts and music.

05 June 2024

I am writing this warmly tucked in, suffering, nursing a loathsome flu, painful joints and some other self inflicted ailments acquired from the 4 nights and three days of pure unadulterated fun that I (We) experienced at the CNN's "7 African Music festivals you really have to see” and BBC’s Top African Festival," Am I complaining? NO, it was all worth it. Luckily I had booked some time off work for me to recover, I suggest that you do the same if you are planning on attending #MTNBUSHFIRE2025 which the dates have already been set to 30 May 2025 to 1st June 2025.

The MTN Bushfire Festival brings 20 000+ attendees from all over Africa and the world to Eswatini, affectionately called "kaGogo," by the locals, learnt this from a few locals that we encountered at the iconic Malkerns House On Fire. 

The 17th Edition of the festival lived up to its notoriety as one of the continent's biggest music and expressions celebrations. One of the highlights is how the festival meticulously ran, from the hustling ticket pick up points, the ample parking space, the hassle free entry and exit to the campsite and main Festival Arena. The shuttle trucks (nicknamed after the famous e-hailing services) and men with wheelbarrows always ready to help out where needed. The ablution area, be prepared to spend atleast 30min to an hour in the queue for a very reviving speedy shower, in anyway bring lots and lots of wipes for the "critical but stable moments" as one gentleman jokingly said.

Musically, the Festival boasts 8 stages, The Main Stage hosted "King Tha" Thandiswa Mazwai, who had earlier on the day of her performance posted on her page that she was under the weather but gave a spirited performance which was nothing short of spectacular.

"King Tha" Thandiswa Mazwai"

The Queen of Dance "Makhadzi" performed on sunday and closed off the Main Stage with a bang, the mainstage arena was packed to the rafters, it took me roughly 10min to move from the "media pit" to the back of the crowd as everyone didn't want to loose a spot they were occupiying.

Makhadzi "The Queen Of Dance"

Maleh, the songstress from Lesotho was exquisite, she braved the heat and adorned herself with a colourful signature blanket of the Basotho people "to represent her country", The Basotho came in numbers to support her and she didn't disappoint.


The Legendary Duo from Mali Amadou and Mariam also gave a stellar performance, I pray that I get to see them live again in the near future.

Amadou and Mariam 

Other stages I enjoyed were the Amphitheater stage, which hosted acts like Jazz P, The Fades from UK. The "Bring Your Fire Zone" was for a more relaxed vibe, with acts like DJ Bob, DJ Bubbles, Madalitso (Moz) to name a few.

The Fades (UK)

As first time attendees we really didn't get much sleep as we wanted to soak the vibe and visit all the stages that bushfire had to offer. Programmes on most stages starts later in the day to allow, I presume, campers and the crew time to recuperate. Bushfire Campsites, I'll speak for "BYO" campsite (Alex) our home for the weekend, comes alive at night, during the day, those who manage to rise up, wake up to braai, to refill glasses/tumblers or to relax and enjoy the vibez. 

The Campsites atmosphere has a buzzing energy all day long, the air is filled with sounds of music from different sized Bluetooth speakers (aka Bloomblasts), so bring an open mind with you or earplugs, but if you choose the latter you will be judged.

The biggest stand out factor of the festival was the powerful sense of community that permeated every interaction. From calling each other "Makhe" short for Makhelwane (neighbour) to knowing you can leave your tent unattended (keep your valuables with you) was very assuring, only in the last night of the Festival one of our "Makhe" reported that two guys wanted break in to their tents, luckily he was there to thwart their plan. Organisers need to keep an eye out for such, one of the biggest festival in Mzansi was shutdown because of the high level of crime that took place during the Festival.

All in All, I give MTN bushfire 2024 10 out of 10, We are already preparing for #MTNBushfire2025, word of advice for 1st time attendees, plan to arrive the day before the official opening day to beat border posts traffic and to get a good camping spot. Follow the "Plan Your MTN Bushfire Experience" guide and you won't go wrong. SAVE MONEY NOW, early bird tickets open in three to four months time from now. PLAN YOUR BUDGET PROPERLY, SAVE NOW.

I wish I could squeeze the whole experience in a few paragraphs for you, don't take my word for it though, attend #MTNBUSHFIRE2025 to experience it for yourself. 

As we made our way back to Johannesburg, hearts and minds full of memories and new connections forged, we knew that the spirit of MTN Bushfire would stay with us long after the last notes faded into the night.

Until we meet again under the African skies, to celebrate life, love and music, may peace, love, and happiness guide our paths. #BRINGYOURFIRE 

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