MTN BUSHFIRE School’s Festival Launches!
With only 10 days until MTN BUSHFIRE, the festival proudly launches its multi-school arts education outreach initiative: The Bushfire School’s Festival.
MTN BUSHFIRE believes that access to the arts should be widespread, allowing people from all walks of life to enjoy similarly the beauty of song, dance, poetry, theatre, and other forms of artistic demonstration. This belief manifests itself chiefly in the yearly MTN BUSHFIRE festival, a cross-cultural, international celebration that brings joy, festivities, and a sense of social responsibility to the picturesque House on Fire in Malkerns, Swaziland.
Along with this celebration, MTN BUSHFIRE enacts its philosophy in other facets of society; namely, its Bushfire Schools Festival, a seminar that reaches across a variety of schools in Swaziland, providing them with the opportunity for hands-on arts education. The idea of the festival is simple, but deep: invite students from a range of Swazi schools to partake in a day of artistic communication and learning, helping to establish connections between peoples and helping individuals to discover their own potential.
Through the Bushfire Schools Festival, a dynamic forum of interschool interaction is created, providing children with the means to explore the arts and express themselves creatively. This opportunity to grow through art is imperative, and many schools in Swaziland currently do not have a comprehensive arts education curriculum. Indeed, the skills encouraged and practiced in Bushfire’s Schools Festival are valuable not just in the realm of arts, but in a child’s life; these include confidence, creative expression, and teamwork.
The launch of the festival hosted the numerous committed sponsors; namely, the chief sponsor MTN, as well as the U.S. Embassy, MacMillan Publishing Group, and House on Fire. These sponsors had glowing remarks about the School’s Festival – Molly Sanchez Crowe of the US Embassy lauded the intention of the festival to “create dynamic citizens of the future”, MTN CEO Ambrose Dlamini remarked that the festival sets arts organizations up to “nurture the coming artists in Swaziland”, and festival director Jiggs Thorne called the School’s Festival “revolutionary… another building block that shows we are committed to our children.”
The festival involves a series of workshops that students will have the opportunity to attend; this includes a workshop headed by Adam Glasser, an internationally recognized musician that will bring students together to find their musical talents, eventually leading to an ensemble performance. The workshops will also include The Silent Conductor, an inspirational percussionist that advocates for music as a beautiful, fundamental form of communication, and a production of Woza Albert!, a highly physical production that will demonstrate the versatility and vibrancy of communication through theatre.
In addition to its outreach in the youth community, the Bushfire School’s Festival works with teachers and facilitators in sessions of professional development. As aforementioned, the arts curriculum in Swaziland is underdeveloped – through the teaching workshops, the festival encourages the furthering of comprehensive arts curriculum into schools across the country. Furthermore, the exposure of both students and teachers to the workshops establishes a foundation for communication and common ground through artistic expression.
Bushfire School’s Festival will take place in the days before the main festival, the 24th and 25th of May, 2012, at House on Fire – the first day will incorporate student-oriented activities and workshops, while the second day will involve seminars and discussions for teachers. The School’s Festival leads directly into the annual MTN BUSHFIRE Festival, which takes place from the 25th – 27th May 2012, at House on Fire in Malkerns, Swaziland. With only 17 days till the festival, its wise to act fast and purchase discounted presale tickets online (www.bushfire.co.sz) or at MTN Service Centres in Simunye, Manzini, Mbabane, Matsapha, and the Gables. See you at the festival!
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Official Photographers - Bram Lanmers and Sydelle Willow-Smith