BAFTA nominee Actor Richard E Grant signs on as MTN BUSHFIRE patron

Acclaimed actor Richard E Grant, who was born and raised in Swaziland, has come on board as the patron of the annual MTN BUSHFIRE arts festival, which takes place in the picturesque Swazi kingdom from 25 to 27 May 2012.



Born Richard Grant Esterhuysen in Mbabane, and attending Waterford boarding school before studying drama at the University of Cape Town, Grant was catapulted to international stardom in the 1980s in the cult slacker film Withnail and I.

He has subsequently achieved great success, featuring in multi-awarded films such as Robert Altman’s The Player, Gosford Park and Prêt à Porter, and recently starred in the Oscar-winning biopic The Iron Lady.

In 2005 he wrote and directed the film Wah-Wah, based on his memoir of his years growing up in pre-independence Swaziland and starring Gabriel Byrne, Emily Watson and Julie Walters. It was the first feature film to be shot in Swaziland.

Grant’s heart is still very much attached to Swaziland – he even wears two watches, one set to Swazi time! – and has given his wholehearted backing to the MTN BUSHFIRE festival and what it represents for the development of a sustainable arts sector in the country.

“By supporting this year’s Bushfire, you will be rewarded with wonderful music, as well as helping the Young Heroes Aids Orphans initiative,” he urges festival-goers. “Like that Beatles song: Help-Me-Help-You-Help-We-Help!”

We asked Richard E Grant why Swaziland and the MTN BUSHFIRE festival are so close to his heart:

Q: Do you still feel a connection to Swaziland?

A:It’s where I was born and brought up, so like a swallow, I fly back every year.

Q: Favourite thing about Swaziland?

A:My friends, Sibebe Rock [the ancient and majestic granite dome near Mbabane], swimming in the Umbeluzi and the spirit of the country.

Q: The House on Fire performance venue is...

A:… the creative heart and hearth of Swaziland. Warms your soul.

Q: Your view of the MTN BUSHFIRE festival in a nutshell?

A:Nothing lifts your spirits higher than experiencing live music together with other people.

Q: Tell us your thoughts on MTN BUSHFIRE’s social message.

A:Music and drama feed the soul and imagination like nothing else. Bushfire aims to spread the message like wildfire.

Q: What’s your interest in being a patron of MTN BUSHFIRE?

A:Hoping that I can give something back to Swaziland that has given me so much.

Q: MTN BUSHFIRE is unique because...

A:Founders Jiggs and Sholto Thorne are the sons of my late, great friend Jenny, who inspired enormous loyalty and did things her way, when many people “nay-sayed”. Her spirit of adventure and creativity are alive and well in her sons, who have created this unique venue that attracts people from far and wide.


MTN BUSHFIREis a singular music, culture and arts festival that takes place every year at the House on Fire performance venue in the heart of the beautiful Swazi countryside. A stellar array of Swazi, South African and international artists has already been confirmed for this year’s festival, which will be held over the Africa Day weekend of 25 to 27 May 2012.

Tickets for the MTN BUSHFIRE International Festival of the Arts are available at www.bushfire.co.sz. The website includes information on where to stay during the festival, from backpackers and campsites to chalets and hotels.

Both VIP and standard tickets are available, as are one-day tickets. Pre-sale single-day tickets cost R150 to R200, or R200 to R250 at the door. A full three-day festival pass costs R400 pre-sale or R450 at the door.

Golden Lounge VIP tickets (including access to comfortable seating and a bar and waiter service) range from R350 for a day pass to R650 for full festival admission. Children enjoy a discounted rate of R50 per day or R150 for the entire festival, with free admission for under-fives.

MTN BUSHFIRE wishes to thank the following sponsors: MTN, House on Fire, Young Heroes, Alliance Française, SNCAC, African Synergy and the Kingdom of Swaziland.

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