Swazi Bushfire fest a success

Bushfire Festival organisers in Swaziland say the event provided much needed entertainment in the country.

Music lovers at a concert. Picture: EWN

SWAZILAND - Swaziland's 2012 MTN Bushfire International Festival of the Arts was an overwhelming success, concert organisers said on Monday.

This despite calls for a cultural boycott of the country in a bid to push through democratic reforms.

More than 12,000 people attended the concert, which is now in its sixth year.

Bushfire Festival founder Jiggs Thorne said change in Swaziland must come from within.

"Bushfire is not entertainment for entertainment's sake. It's a philosophy, a feeling and spirit. It's all about development which comes with transformation. This event is very relevant and needed in Swaziland."

A new space was provided for people to talk openly about political and social change.

Swaziland's monarchy has come under international pressure following a violent crackdown on opposition protests.

Africa's last absolute monarch, King Mswati's III, has also come under sharp criticism for his luxurious lifestyle while ordinary citizens battle with high levels of poverty and HIV.