Lesotho-born afroSoul sensation Malehloka ‘Maleh’ Hlalele promises her fans and festival goers a high-energy experience of the Basotho folk music at the highly anticipated MTN Bushfire festival.

The 17th edition of the three-day Eswatini-based festival will be taking place from 31 May to 2 June, at the Malendela’s Farm in Malkerns.

Spelling to Lifestyle and Tech, Maleh said: “I have been working on new music and have recently released a new gospel-inspired single titled Mmoloki, which has received such a great reception from my supporters. I will definitely be adding this song to the setlist.

As Maleh made her first appearance at the festival last year, she said her experience was amazing.

“I performed at the amphitheatre and the support I received was phenomenal. It was such an intimate moment and is one of my favourite performances yet.

She added that besides being an artist booked for the show, she loved the variety of the different musicians and genres on the stage, and being introduced to different musical worlds.

“I would say to anyone, coming to Bushfire for the first time, open your heart to an explosive musical experience, and step out of your comfort zone and truly take in the musical performances that are new to you, you will discover that it is in your willingness to be open that the beauty of music will truly be enjoyed,” Maleh said.

Festival director, Jiggs Thorne told L&T that this year’s edition promises a powerful, eclectic line-up showcasing some of the best and best-known music in Africa as well as presenting lesser-known performance gems, comedy, theatre, drumming, and ceramics workshops, roving performers with giant puppets, circus acts and more.

“MTN Bushfire has been working hard to maintain its long-standing commitment to staging a responsible event and its continuous efforts to improve the festivalgoer experience, from communications around how to get here while avoiding border queues, to introducing paid parking to alleviate traffic congestion and reducing the festival’s carbon emissions, adding extra security measures and systems to keep crowds moving easily, and the provision of more (and better) toilets,” Thorne stressed.

Furthermore, he said every year, the festival gets bigger and better, with increased space, more stages and plenty of opportunities for festival-goers to Bring your (their) fire.

MTN Bushfire has been named top African festival by the British broadcasting corporation (BBC), and one of the seven African music festivals you really have to see by Cable News Network CNN.

Thorne added that: “The festival’s commitment to environmental sustainability has garnered it the ‘Winner – Best Responsible Event at the World Travel Market African Responsible Tourism Awards 2017’, and many other accolades.”

Speaking to people who have never attended the festival, Thorne said: “You are missing out! The MTN Bushfire International Festival of music and the arts is unlike any other festival in the region, with its broad range of experiences, eclectic line-ups, and signature call to action for positive social and environmental change, Bring Your Fire. At its heart, the festival is about bringing the diverse cultures of the world together, in a spirit of inclusion and celebration.

With the main partner being MTN Eswatini, Thorne added that in 2024 the festival has secured over 50 partners, and is expecting a few more.