House On Fire in eSwatini – home to the globally acclaimed Bushfire Festival – was this past weekend, adorned with the vivid colours and striking prints that was the uniquely styled Standard Bank Luju Food & Lifestyle Festival.

The lush green landscape was transformed into a veritable runway for immaculately designed African vintage outfits that boldly staked the festival’s claim as the fashion event of the year.

This year’s theme, “A Return to the African Future” inspired the creative tastes, trends and fashion designs that celebrated Africa’s rich heritage, colourful traditions and diversity, while incorporating the latest contemporary trends.

The Standard Bank Luju Food & Lifestyle Festival is certainly well on its way to becoming a regional hub and melting pot of different ethnicities and cultures through collaborations between, food enthusiasts, fashionistas, musicians, and artists from across Africa.

The air was thick with rich aromas from the array of delicious mouth-watering cuisines, making the festival an absolute foodies’ haven. Culinary showcases by headlining celebrity chefs, Siba Mtongana and Pete Goffe-Wood drew large audiences who marvelled at their detailed African-inspired culinary displays.  

Siba prepared a delectable Ethiopian-inspired granadilla and avo spriv starter. Her main dish was a savoury lamb shank with mashed potatoes and micro herbs. She topped it all off with a succulent meringue cheesecake that had the audience salivating for a share. 

Pete’s special collaboration with Malandela’s Restaurant was an explosion of flavour. The Pete Goffe-Wood stall offered a uniquely curated menu called “Flaming Shisa” which turned out to be a major hit. It was no surprise that it sold-out as festivalgoers could not resist treating themselves to a piece of his succulent meaty displays.

In addition to the gourmet dishes by food experts, the Luju Festival also proved to be a delightful and inviting space for children and young adults as reflected in the Luju Junior Chef Cook-Off. This tasty platform for young aspiring chefs saw two Junior Chef finalists going head-to-head and flaunting their cooking skills under the guidance of Pete Goffe-Wood. Both finalists had to prepare dishes using the festival’s signature ingredient; honey. In the end, 13-year-old Jasmine Moyes was declared the winner.

Festival-goers swayed all through the night as music acts from across the continent set the stage ablaze. South African Afro-pop group, Bongo Maffin, transported the audience down memory lane with their nostalgic sounds and celebrated hits. Popular Mozambican group, Ghorwane, also gave a memorable, authentically African performance, while Holly Rey had the crowd owning the dancefloor.

The Muses serenaded with their unique twist to mainstream music using classical instruments, and ballet group, Kids in Motion, added a special and heart-warming touch to the programme with their graceful dance moves.

The second edition of The Standard Bank Luju Food & Lifestyle Festival grew both in terms of attendance and activations and strands, firmly placing it as one of the go-to lifestyle and culinary events of the region.

It’s not too early to start planning for next year’s edityion scheduled for August 1st 2020.

For more information and photos from this year’s event visit: or

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