Reggae Camping by The Countryside – Pietermaritzburg

The first edition of Reggae Camping by the Countryside will take place in the rolling hills of KZN, at Maqongqo in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa. The date is set for September 21 – 24, 2018. It takes place in the month designated to commemorating our heritage, and what better way to to do that than by the return to nature, exploring our land and giving back to our community.

Our correspondent, SoulSista from Queen Soul Vibe SA, caught up with the organisers of Reggae Camping, to get more insight into the event and how it all got started. Below is the three way conversation that took place among the Sisters in Reggae..

From L – R: SoulSista (SSS) |  Zinhle | Mpumi J


SSS:When I got word that there’s a reggae camp happening in Pietermaritzburg in September, my heart skipped a beat, did a somersault and a ‘heart spin’, I might be exaggerating a little but you get the gist of it.  This revoked such nostalgia, it took me back to the Reggae Camp 2017, if you had the pleasure of attending you’d remember how much crazy fun was had there. Truly speaking withdrawal symptoms were showing me flames so this also came at the right time.

For a moment I envisioned myself chilling around a cozy fire, listening to the soothing sounds of nature, mixed with the endorphins inducing reggae music, stars gleaming and twinkling overhead, smell of the sensi lingering in the air.

Ok before I get carried away, I caught up with my sheroes and coordinators of the camp Mpumi Mtshali and Zinhle Msali to find out from them what we should look forward to at the camp.

SSS: @SoulSista Sekano
What inspired #reggaecampingbythecountryside?

Zinhle: @Zinhle MntakaBhewu Msali
I drove up from KZN last year for a Reggae Camp at Lebo’s backpackers. I remember everybody saying this should be a yearly event as it was such a success, and it was long overdue. Mpumie and I were chatting one day and we came to this exciting realization that we could host a camp. We were going to start with just a couple of people and just play some music and hang out. After posting it onFacebook the whole thing just blew in our faces, in a positive way. The next thing; we were having selektas and artists enquiring if they could be part of the camp.

SSS: What are you hoping to achieve with this camp?
Zinhle: The camp is meant to be a retreat for people who appreciate all forms of reggae music. To de-stress from our hectic busy lives and concrete worlds, a chance to be surrounded by nature is surely a blessing for most of us, and I have opened my home for anybody to come and do that whenever they feel the need to, whether it be during that camping weekend or any other day as needed by each and every soul and spirit out there. We are hoping to get the reggae genre the platform and respect it deserves. We want our communities to understand that reggae is not about marijuana smoking as most seem to think, it is an ART. We want them to show it the same respect they show to other music genres. We want our young ones to walk on the streets singing our reggae songs, thus taking this right in the middle of the community.Our hope is that the people of Maqongqo benefit from this as well. They have allowed us to share in the beauty of their surroundings so we should give something back as a form of gratitude and also as our social responsibility. Umuntu ngumuntu ngabantu. Thus we have as one of the activities; a community visit where we will be giving out donations and planting trees.

Our future camps will be on bigger venues with as spectacular views as the current one, if not better. The area of Maqongqo has a rich history and beautiful landscapes, and we are all going to explore and learn that together during camp and hopefully help us appreciate our rural communities more and not forget where we came from. For our future camps we are looking into sourcing sponsorship so we can take this to another level and offer our attendees and community more fun-filled activities and benefits/assistance.

Mpumie: @Mpumie J-Mtshali
We hoping to create a retreat for everyone. A place and time thateveryone can look forward to annually. A home away from home where we can all recharge our energies while surrounded by good people, good vibes and good music.

Reggae Camping Site: Maqongqo – Pietermaritzburg


SSS: What has been the most challenging aspect(s) of organising such an event?
Zinhle: First of all, we both have never organized an event. That’s scary I know.Secondly we started organising a camp for a few people, but we have now found ourselves working with a large number of people, selektas, artists, musical groupsetc. Trying to co-ordinate an event that involves people from different provinces is not easy.we are finding ourselves having to organize transportation and other stuff that we never anticipated. Catering for initially 30 people to now current numbers and making sure that the site is ready for the camp. ALL this is done via social media, and texts. The funny part is that Mpumie and I have not even spoken about this in person, nor by voice. It has all been in text as I am away out of the country.

Mpumie: Challenges, having to replan/re-strategies because as mentioned before the initial idea was for a smaller group. Another challenge is that the event/venue is a bit far, so we had to make transportation available for those coming from far. Funding is also another major issue as we have to do everything out of our pockets.

SSS: What can we look forward to at Reggae Camping?
Zinhle: Good positive vibes. We have a lineup of reggae artists who will be playing different kinds of reggae music, groups who will be playing indigenous music in honor of Heritage Day. We have themed our nights so every person is comfortable with the programme. We have poetry, drumming, yoga and meditation sessions and storytelling. We have activities ranging from fishing and swimming in the nearby Umngeni and Umsunduzi River. We also have Nagle Dam in the area where people can go for canoeing/kayaking, and there’s a nature reserve as well for game drives. We have dance and drama classes, different kinds of art like mosaic, mural painting and other upcycling classes for all ages.

We are hoping this will be something that people will look forward to year after year. Jah guide, that’s our hope. Children are welcome.

Mpumi: Honestly, as this is our first camp, we also wondering how it’s going to turnout. However, we hoping that we will pull off a fun-filled, different, relaxed, one of a kind event that everyone will not want to miss annually.

For more info on the camp check out the event page on FB #ReggaeCampingbythecoutryside
And I hope to see you all there J



Reggae Camping by the Countryside