The Baardskeerder - AfrikaBurn's Newsletter - View web version

 (Clan 2018 and SKOP IV, as shot by Isbjorn Viot)  

Dear AfrikaBurn Community Member,

First of all, we at African Burns Transformational Desert Experiences
would like to apologise for the toilet shitshow, and the plague they brought. Second, we're doing our very best to tackle the scourge of Plug & Play camps and the disco hellfire they bring. And then, we'd also like to humbly ask your forgiveness for so many loud rigs banging 24/7 from the Monday throughout the week... oh, wait.

That was last year.

But seriously, isn't fantastic to look back and relive the beauty of what we achieved out there, way back at the end of April? Damn straight - so keep that in mind, as we look forward. That's how it works: we build on the gains in order to improve the experience next time. And this year a lot worked, very well - and much of that is down to the effort and goodwill of you, our community. But to business: it might seem like nothing very much happens at this time of year, but that's not the whole story. We're tooling up in the background, tweaking some systems and reviewing, well, pretty much everything whilst we have a little time to exhale and take it all in from a distance. 

In this newsletter:

- THEME 2019
- SURVEY 2018

 (Here today, gone tomorrow - 'Temporal Decomposition' by Jim Mason, Burning Man, 1997. Thanks to Photographer Unknown for the shot)  

Like the desert flowers that bloom across our event site every year in spring, the city we build together rises and disappears - and in between, magic flourishes for a brief beautiful period. That's Tankwa Town for you: ephemeral. And that, more or less, is the nut of our 2019 theme. 2019 theme? Yep - it's in, and it's officially EPHEMEROPOLIS!

Absorb it, mull it over - and dig into the 2019 Theme rationale (and the process that leads to the selection of each year's theme)
here on our 2019 Theme page.

Got it? Aaand go!


                                                                                                                      (Decom crowd oohing and ahhing at T ≈ 2 π √ (L / g) - shot by Joffrey Hyman)


You missed it? Oh damn, you missed something very special - because two weekends ago, we nailed it, together. And by 'it', we mean a colossal Decompression that was one for the books. And why? Largely because - like Tankwa Town - so many people brought projects, costumes, mutants, sound systems and artworks flaming, blinkish and superb.

Yes indeed - and much can also be put down to having found a venue (Killarney Race Track) that's fantastically versatile in being able to accommodate all the weird and wonderful things we do when we get together, including flaming things. Hell, it even has a mini-Binnekring where mutants and bikes can roll. And we got to welcome DPW home, as they literally rolled out of the desert and directly onto the dancefloor, like the troopers they are. Check out Joffrey Hyman's
great selection of pics right here to get a sense of what all came together.

And hey - plan to be there next year. We're building a snowball around that track, and it's only going to grow in time.

To everyone that brought so much to the event, THANK YOU!

                                                                                       (Taking it out into the wild - here's the Borderlands crew, at Border Walk 14, a Spark Grant recipient project) 



So it's done, and dusted - and you've successfully decompressed. Well played - but you don't have to default just quite yet. Say what now? Well, see, we have year-round opportunities to bring our culture alive, in our communities and in the communities of others. One of the way we keep the embers glowing is through our Spark Grant programme. Last year saw 11 separate projects get funded across the length and breadth of Azania - including in Masiphumelele and Ocean View in Cape Town, Cofimvaba and Tsomo in the Eastern Cape, Segwashi in Limpopo and Mbekweni outside Paarl.

Our 2018 Spark Grant applications are now open - and they're designed to provide funding for projects that make a difference in your community, or a community you feel could use some love and activation. Got something in mind? Step up, fill out the form, and prepare to make magic happen:

Click here to sign into our site and apply for a Spark Grant.



Members of our team will be on the road soon, as they embark on the very first Blank Canvas Express. Blank Canvas Express? Yep - as it sounds, it's an initiative to take the blank canvas effect that we all enjoy in Tankwa Town out into the wild and on the road - and this round will see the towns cities and hamlets of the Northern Cape visited by our crew. Whilst there, connections and relationships will be built with a view to engaging cultural practitioners, and offering them an opportunity to activate their communities through creativity - and invite those communities to participate in our annual desert kumbaya.

If this (and our Spark Grant programme) comes as a surprise because it doesn't sound like the thumping wild bohemian fire fest you're used to associating AfrikaBurn with, here's the news: though we do our best to communicate the many out-of-Tankwa activities we engage in all year, including our Outreach initiatives, the fact is that it seems most folks prefer to click on & engage with the sexy fire-art-music formula that burns are so well known for. But here's the kicker: as a community, we have great potential to effect positive change - and in eMzantsi, change is what's needed, and it ain't coming from a government or some mythical 'someone else'. We are that someone - so we should seize every opportunity to make the world a better place. Which takes us back to where we started: this thing we do together is much bigger than our 7 days in the dust, so the Blank Canvas Express rolls out from July 10th, and may very well be visiting your area if you live in the Northern Cape or Free State.

Interested? Want to get involved?
Read up on the plan of action here and visit the Facebook page here - and email to get in touch.


Every year since 2007, there's a whole lot of burn discussed in the post-event period - and this year's no different. Well, we say that - but the discussions this time didn't flare up about toilets, Plug & Play, road safety or any other major issues because, well, we nailed that shit* this time, proper. No, sir or madam or indeed whichever pronoun you prefer, the biggest discussion point this time round appears to have been... uh... plastic wristbands. But hey - that doesn't mean that we can't still have a Town Hall, and invite you right there to join the conversation.

This time round, you're invited to take that astonishing conversational sparring capacity you have on social media and convert it into old-school, traditional, deep and meaningful Discussion - and by that, we mean bring your agenda items, and raise them, so our team and members of our community can field your compliments, concerns or citicisms and chat them into the dust 'til the cows come home. Or until we decamp outside and set something alight. Speaking of which...


What, where & when? It all happens on June 21st, at the Armchair Theatre in Obs, Cape Town - which, by the way and as it happens, is the very day on which, 31 years ago, two friends named Larry Harvey and Jerry James dragged a wooden effigy down onto a beach in San Francisco, and thus set a growing bonfire alight. In honor of Larry, who recently passed away during the weekend of our 2018 event, we'll be saying a few words and setting a small wooden effigy alight.

Do join us - it's going to be lots of fun, with fire:

When: Thursday June 21, 7pm - whenever
Where: Obviouzly Armchair Theatre, Observatory, Cape Town
What: discussions, points of view, plastic wristbands
Cover charge: R700 per person (children 90 years and younger: FREE)
Event page?
Right here - drop your suggested agenda items onto the page, thanks

*If you have a delicate disposition, a caution: stronger words than 'shit' lie ahead. Sensitive viewers may wish to turn back now.




Our Lost & Found crew - volunteers, they are, by the way - have been sifting, sorting and cataloguing and tagging about, oh, a bazillion items that were turned in this year in the dust. It's a thankless task - well, not actually, because the look on people's faces when their expensive watch or phone or girlfriends are returned is priceless. But the point is - for the last 6 weeks, L&F have been reuniting humans with lost stuff, but the window for happy reunions closes soon. In other words:


And that would be why? Because, since the Lost & Found 2018 Facebook group was created on May 7th, our L&F crew have been posting a constant stream of images so you could browse those and locate your lostness. And bikes? All positively ID'd bikes have been reunited with their owners - and if you lost a bike (possibly because you didn't lock it?) you need to contact right away, because our team can't hold onto bikes forever. Turns out, they take up lots of space and rust if left out in our yard for months at a stretch in the winter rain. After the 15th, all unclaimed bikes get donated to charity, as they do every year.

Massive thanks to Muriel Rossie and our L&F crew for doing a sterling job this time round!

To check our the Lost & Found iteams on the 2018 L&F group,
click here.
SURVEY 2018!

Take 11,000 humans. Put them on the road, in vehicles rammed with survival gear, and set them on a trajectory for the desert. On arrival, help them build a city, and survive a week of challenging conditions. Repeat. But ah - what could help fill in the rest of the picture? You know what would be really helpful? A survey!

Yes folks and kids of all ages, it's here - and we'd like you to help us fill in the gaps by filling out this year's Survey. It's pretty comprehensive, and lots of fun - or at least, reading the results is very informative, if only to dispel some rumours like that favourite hairy chestnut 'Weekend Warriors Ruin The Burn!' (eh, yeah, but no: turns out, 90% of our city crossses the threshold by Thursday night) or 'More Than 50% of The Burn Was Foreigners!' (hmmm, nah: more like 28% - but we can only know if you fill the dang Survey out, right? Right).

Click this to fill out Survey 2018 and create swathes of pristine data (and help us make future events even better).

                                                                                                                                               (Tankwa Dragon, as created in the dust by BobD Skull - thanks to Hennie Bredenkamp for the photo)

Out there in the dust you may have missed the mighty Draak aka Dragon - but in its place, the Draak crew set up a great stretch canvas and artist BobD Skull painted the glorious Tankwa Dragon you see above. More, they also created a sweet little video clip to show the process, which you can watch right here.

The Dragon crew are already planning and plotting next year's dust session - and to raise funds, they're auctioning off the artwork. Interested in a little dragon in your life? Mail and start making your bids.



Word from our ICT crew is that they're looking for some testers to help us get some feedback on changes coming soon to our website and Tribe spaces. They need your help, no matter your skill or computer literacy level - in fact, if you struggle to internet, you would actually be a very good tester. Yes? Fantastic - email to get some links to play with, or you can also head over to the Big Blue Book of Faces and join their TechSlut Team right here.

                                                                                                                                                          (Thanks to Cedric Peters for this shot of Jerome in Tankwa Town)


Every year, strong bonds are forged in the dust - and arguably, none stronger than those made in our Department of Public Works, who spend up to 9 weeks in the desert, prepping and striking the city you know and love so well. Recently - literally after getting back home and having a wonderfully fulfilling experience - a new member of DPW was lost to the clan. Here's word from H, our DPW lead:

"Tankwa Town's Department of Public Works would like to commemorate crew member Jerome 'Romepie' Klein, who passed away on May 20th, on his first night back in the default world.

Jerome spent close to two months in the Tankwa with DPW, and in that time contributed not only with his impeccable work ethic but also with his unique gees and humour, and climbed deeply into the hearts of his fellow crew members, nee - his family.

Romepie, we salute you and wish you well on your new adventure, whatever and wherever that may be. We know you will continue to be a bright light of love and entertainment, and we'll see you again someday for a swig of whisky and a laugh or twelve.

RIP, cunt.*

*indeed, a DPW term of endearment, deal with it."


Sometimes, it really is.

Travis Lyle
Head of Communications



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