Every year in Swaziland, House on Fire arts venue in Malkerns hosts the annual MTN Bushfire Festival, acclaimed as the biggest music and arts festival in Southern Africa and known for its support of orphan care charities, NGOs and environmental causes. It has grown to include the Bushfire Schools festival, set up by the MTN foundation and the European Union to promote arts and culture in schools.

For three years, groups of our very own Bulembu children have had the opportunity to attend and even perform dances and poetry on stage. This years theme was on Child Social Protection, and we caught up with Thuli Dlamini, who for the last two years has been one of the staff who has taken the children along to enjoy this spectacular occasion. As teacher of the modern dance club, she prepared the children to perform a routine and they all had a wonderful time! Here’s what she had to say:

RS- “Miss Dlamini, tell us a bit about the children in this years group.”

TD “We had thirteen girls this year who dance with me that we took down for the whole day, from grade four to grade seven, and they were all very excited!”

RS- “Is there a big build up towards the festival then?”

TD- “Yes, they look forward to it so much! There is one student who was asking her teacher every day, “How many days until Bushfire?!” She kept on saying “Miss, is it today, I can’t sleep at night, I’m too excited!”

RS- “What activities were the children able to do?”

TD- “They had a great time watching all the competitive dance and music groups. I enjoy that too because I love dance! They were treated to nice food and they also got to watch a movie featuring some orphaned and vulnerable children telling their own personal stories. And they got to perform!”

RS- “So they got to go on stage too?”

TD- “Yes, the festival was actually opened by Eusebia from Bulembu Primary. She is only ten and very, very talented for her age. She wrote her own spoken word poem and performed it so well. Later all of our Bulembu dance group took part in a sort of “open mic” time. They were brave because they needed to dance their routine, which of course had its own backing music, to whatever music was playing on stage, and they did a great job!”

We are so proud of our Bulembu girls and they really did well. We are grateful Bushfire Schools festival is dedicated to promoting the arts and culture so that children like ours can have the opportunity to learn more about their country, be connected to their history and experience the richness and joy that the arts provide, through the chance for both self expression and sharing in the talents of such a diverse variety of performers. We also thank our Bulembu Primary staff for enabling them to join this fantastic display of colour and life!

Would you like to support our Bulembu Schools? Hop over to our Schools needs list to find out how you can help our Schools! Thank you from Bulembu Ministries Swaziland.