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The Kingdom of Eswatini

MTN Bushfire festival beneficiary handover

MTN Bushfire is pleased to announce E372,665.76 in sponsorship for their two long-term festival beneficiaries in 2023. Cheques were presented to Young Heroes and boMake Rural Projects on 26th October, 2023, at House On Fire. Since 2007, MTN Bushfire has cumulatively sponsored these beneficiaries with over E3.5 million.

This sponsorship is made possible by the collective effort inspired by the “Bring Your Fire” call to action to make a positive difference in local communities. Grateful thanks go to the range of partners involved in making the MTN Bushfire festival such a memorable experience, and most especially the festivalgoers who purchase the tickets and merchandise used to sponsor the festival’s beneficiaries.

MTN Bushfire is more than simply a music festival, it is an expression of social consciousness and an engine for local community development. MTN Bushfire’s commitment towards creative activism to effect positive, meaningful, sustainable change has earned the festival a worldwide reputation for its visionary, authentic and inclusive approach, winning the ‘Best Responsible Event’ Award at the 2017 WTM African Responsible Tourism Awards.

“From the onset of MTN Bushfire, we have shared the belief that we all have to play a more conscious and active role in developing and supporting the communities and environments within which we live. MTN Bushfire’s call to action, Bring Your Fire, leverages the transformational power of the arts to inspire collective action on the social and environmental challenges of our time,” stated MTN Bushfire festival Creative Director Jiggs Thorne.

The proceeds of the sponsorships are to be used primarily in the Lobamba Lomdzala constituency in which House On Fire, the permanent iconic venue for the MTN Bushfire festival, is located. Speakers at the cheque handover ceremony included the Chairman of the MTN Bushfire Board and Honourable Member of Parliament for Lobamba Lomdzala, Marwick Khumalo, Sihlangu Nhlabatsi, who spoke on behalf of Indvuna yeNkhundla Lobamba Lomdzala Mphiyakhe Fakudze, MTN Eswatini Chief Marketing Officer Desiré Ruhinguka, as well as members of the Lobamba Lomdzala community, who spoke about how much MTN Bushfire’s support has meant to their daily lives.

Young Heroes, which assists youth orphaned and made vulnerable by HIV/AIDS, has been supported by the MTN Bushfire festival since inception in 2007, and benefits from a portion of every ticket sold for the festival. This year, the Director of Young Heroes, Khulekani Magongo, was presented with a cheque for E169 560.00 from MTN Bushfire.

“Over the years, the MTN Bushfire sponsorship has ensured that orphans and vulnerable children have food, clothing, health care, and education support throughout the year. The festival has contributed immensely to the growth of Young Heroes through its marketing and social awareness platforms. This year’s sponsorship focuses on supporting the youth to enroll and train in vocational skills so that they can either be employed or start their own businesses to support their siblings and families. This sponsorship offers an opportunity for the OVC to leap out of the poverty cycle and become independent citizens who contribute to the country’s economy,” said Khulekani Magongo, Director of Young Heroes.

BoMake Rural Projects  is a community-led non-profit organisation working with women artisans to make a sustainable impact through equitable social and economic community development projects. BoMake manages and benefits from the sale of all festival merchandise, this year receiving a cheque for E203 105.76, which was accepted by boMake Director Sazi Hlophe.

BoMake Director Sazi Hlophe had this to say: “Having MTN Bushfire as a partner over the years has been invaluable to assuring the continued existence of boMake. This sponsorship has enabled skills training such as sewing and brickmaking for some of the artisans and their youth dependents, which has given them alternative incomes. MTN Bushfire funding has also subvented community groups in addressing emergency needs resulting from natural disasters such as wind and hailstorms, civil unrest and even the COVID-19 pandemic. A recent example is of the 2023 August windstorms which left LaMgabhi Artisan Group without a shelter for trading or schooling their toddlers – we are looking to helping the community to rebuild with the donation we are receiving for 2023.  On behalf of all the communities we serve, we wish to thank MTN Bushfire and extend an invitation to other private and corporate partners to join us in developing rural Eswatini!”

MTN Bushfire offers its deepest thanks to the people of Eswatini, most especially the communities in Lobamba Lomdzala, who continue to give their support to this festival.