MTN Bush Fire Festival 2014 - Swaziland

12:47 am

The writing is on the wall - Not all those who wander are lost
Meet #TheSoloWanderer
It is that time of the year when the Kingdom of Swaziland gets to host the Annual MTN Bush Fire Festival. And of course that means a great reason for all hippies from all over the world to come together once again and head to Swaziland for a weekend of being carefree and spreading love and cheer. The theme thus year was simple - #BringYourFire

Fellow Hippie from Taiwan
As I walked into the fest just before midday, I knew I had walked into my home. This here place is where I would fit in perfectly. The MTN Bush Fire Fest is a hippie haven. I have been to hippie festivals before but nothing on this scale. When I say hippies I am not talking the hippies you find in Joburg walking the streets of Melville. This was the hippie life on an international scale.
When I say Hippie, please note I am not using this term lightly. I am talking about dreadlocked hair, colourful cornrows, tie dye wearing, barefoot walking, tree loving, bear hugging, bunny kissing hippies. The cream of the crop. I met people that drove just like me from South Africa, Zimbabwe, Botswana and even some that came from as far as Germany, Taiwan and China.

A beer draft served in a calabash..
I walked through the whole festival set up before going to the stage. The craft market were there was hand crafted furniture, décor pieces, jewellery and even clothing. Some serious shopping spree was ready and waiting to happen between all that entertainment.
There were food stalls fit for any hippies appetite. From Chow mein to tacos, to healthy wraps and for those that weren’t keen on a draft at the beer tent, there was a smoothie bar. Prepared while you wait.
And of course the fresh fruit stand where for R5 you get your own pineapple prepared and cut wholly for you to enjoy. And the pineapple preparing guy did promise me marriage (this delayed the queue to a point were his colleague had to put her foot down). Nothing more romantic than a love at first sight impromptu proposal, every girls dream come true I tell you.

Then 1pm came, and on stage was Ladysmith Black Mambazo. How long have these guys been around? 1 of the guys is a 3rd generation member… Yes, his Grandfather is Joseph Shabalala. THE JOSEPH SHABALALA. The founding member of Ladysmith Black Mambazo. There are also three of Joseph’s kids in the band, meaning that this 3rd generation members father is more likely in the band with him. WHAAAAAAAAAT?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!
Ladysmith Black Mambazo
It is insanely awesome!!!! I love these kinda stories.
Anyways the band performed and left me in such high spirits. They did their dance routine and I notice that they wore red socks, I couldn’t help but wonder if those were Skinny Sbu’s Socks. (Google these… AMAZEBALLS!!!),

The Legendary - Oliver Mtukudzi
After Ladysmith Black Mambazo performed, it was time for my main act. The real reason I decided to drive to Swaziland. It was time to get on the Tuku Train. The legend himself, Mr Oliver Mtukudzi was coming on stage. And man oh man he made every kilometre travelled, every penny spent just to see his performance worth it. He had one lesson to teach on this day, and that is – “It is not really what we achieve, but what we overcome”. When he performed “Neria” I lost it, I had a groupie moment in the middle of the crowd, right in the front row. And I usually keep composure under such circumstances. I sang, I danced and screamed along with the crowd. And Yes, I have no clue what he was saying although the Shona guy next to me would try translate when I was calm enough to pay attention J hehehe… I danced, I had fun and celebrated being an African Hippie.

And as we wrapped up the 2014 leg of the MTN Bush Fire Festival, we can safely say that – These hippies did exactly what was expected of them, they brought the fire… and then some!

Thank you MTN Swaziland for bringing us such an event. We now looking forward to 2015. Where it only makes sense to go bigger and better.



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