The Baardskeerder - AfrikaBurn's Newsletter - View web version

Baardskeerder masthead design by Mea Waffle

                                                        (Holy shit - what do you call that? Uh...Thursday? Lizzie the T-Rex, in her hatural nabitat Photo: Gita Claassen)  



You’re on a road. And you’ve been on it your whole life: it stretches ahead, and behind. Sometimes it’s the road home, sometimes away. It can be a long and winding road, or bumpy as hell and shred your tyres as you head into an extreme desert where magic becomes real. If you’re lucky and choose to point yourself in that direction, you’ll take a turn off to a strange and wild place where colours explode and people come alive in new ways. That is, if you’re fortunate enough to be able to set off in that direction. And we, these past 14 years, have been very fortunate to be able to head towards that point on the compass. Now, the road stretches ahead into new territory. What lies behind is the familiar: ahead, uncharted - and the world on either side of the road is a changing landscape. You could even say it’s an unfolding vista that’s part adversity, part challenge. But if there’s one thing we know, it’s that adversity brings out the best in us, and that we eat challenges for breakfast. Wherever you are, whatever you’re doing, may the road rise to meet you.

And always, always - always - pack a spare.

In this newsletter:



                                                                                                                                                                            (Quaggafontein / photo: Jonx Pillemer)  


Late last year, we announced that while there would not be a main annual AfrikaBurn event in 2021, we were planning an excursion to the desert that would be an experimental little gathering at our new home in the Tankwa Karoo, Quaggafontein. We were planning a Field Trip.

We opened up project registrations, ready to hit the ground running in January - and then the second wave of the rona came rolling round and with it a ban on events. And today, it remains unclear as to when we’ll be allowed to gather again.

So while Field Trip is on hold until there’s more certainty, we’re a creative community that’s up for redefining everything - and we’re here to facilitate and enable. So, if your creative juices had already started flowing and you had a plan for Field Trip in the pipeline, hit us up and we’ll see how we can best facilitate your project within the confines of the law and our civic responsibility around COVID safety.

The team is busy with preparations on Quaggafontein and you’re welcome to help. To find out how you could plug into the plans and activities that are happening over the coming months, head to our Land website, and find the thing that suits your skills and interests.

Clickety clack, don't hold back.


                                                                                                                                               (Ornithoglossum undulatum / photo: Kgara Kevin Rack)


What do you do when gathering is your schtick and it's the one thing you aren’t allowed to do? You spend time working on the mighty gift that is Quaggafontein. It's the ground beneath our feet in uncertain and elastic times - and there's much afoot.

Our mighty DPW crew navigated the spectacularly extreme weather of November, (a solid reminder as to why we moved the event from November to April / May all those years ago) and completed the move from our beloved home of 14 years - Stonehenge Private Reserve - to our forever home, Quaggafontein. All the bits and bobs, janky caravans, the bus, our shipping containers and also 150 000 litres of toilet deposits (which is happily transforming into humanure as we speak, and will aid in our eco-restoration projects….but more of that later).

Meanwhile in the background, teams of volunteer planners have been beavering away, hatching plans for how Tankwa Town might take shape when we can all manifest our great beauty of a town again. We've got architects working on all manner of plans, ecologists working on radical regeneration plans, airport volunteers doing the groundwork of the establishment of an airstrip (see more on that below) - and we're also establishing water infrastructure, and doing general repairs.

And all of this is mostly being done by people just like you - fabulous volunteers. There's a lot to do, and as mentioned above in relation to Field Trip, there are many ways you can get involved in our evolving future. Shout out to everyone that's stepped up, shown up - and put up their hands to co-create this space!

More info?
Hit this like it's reluctant rebar.


                                                                                                                                              (Gemsbok spoor in the dust / photo: Jacqui Middlewick)


Out in the Tankwa in summer, conditions are brutal. You thought it got hot in April? Well, take it from our crew - you don't wanna be out in the desert in November, December, January or...well, anytime other than the middle of the year. But that hasn't stopped crew and volunteers getting out to Quagga, to site and survey many things, and among them is the work necessary to find the ideal location for an airstrip.

To find out about what our Airspace crew and volunteers got up to earlier this baking hot January out in the dust, head on over to
read Tiki's freshly-published blogpost right here


                                                                                                                                      (Dalmation shark! But of course. Photo: Simon O'Callaghan)


Keen to learn how to build a Mutant Vehicle? As it happens, our Department of Mutant Vehicles is planning a Mutant Workshop that'll appeal to anyone who's interested in learning new skills, or honing existing ones.

The course will be several days long spread over a few weeks, and will include hands-on and Zoom / video meeting activities. Included in the course will be basic flame effects, lighting and sound rigs. Costing the full workshop is in progress (but at the moment the cost per person comes in around R3500 to R4500)

Keen? Contact Miss Nesbitt on


                                                                                                                                                       (Thanks to Scott Arcinegas for this shot and tribute)


In the dust and around fires, chances are good that you'll meet amazing humans - and if you ever had the pleasure of crossing paths with HeyU Kelley, you'd have known that he was a remarkable character who created spaces and experiences that set our community alight in many ways, in the dust of Black Rock City, on the shores of the Lakes Of Fire regional in the US, and also in Tankwa Town.

HeyU has left us - but for those whose lives he touched, his memory will burn bright and linger long.

As a tribute to this high-powered mutant who was a firestarter in so many ways, BenmeR over at
Shouting Fire has shared a radio show recording which features close friends calling in and sharing memories, as well as an interview with the man himself.

To listen in and hear about this remarkable member of our global community,
click on over this way

RIP, a true original.


A new year, a new home in the Tankwa - and at the same time, an opportunity for community members to step up and help sail our ship in the right direction. Yes indeed - we're calling out for interested parties to step up and apply to join our team as volunteer Non-Executive Directors. And, as we embrace diversity, this call is particularly aimed at non-white female applicants who have the skills and spirit to add value to our board. 

Got the right stuff? We'd love to know more - and if you think you have what it takes, click here to find out more.




And so, even though the world had thrown a curveball virus into the mix, they persisted nonetheless. Eh? Yep - you can't keep a good group of nutters down, which is why there have continued to be small-scale Regional gatherings and activities across the globe since the big little rona kicked all of our asses.

To find out about what our far-flung flame family have been up to over the last year,
check out the 'A Trip Around the World In Regional Events' piece over on the Burning Man Journal - on which, we're very happy to say, our very own eCompession is featured! 


At the end of last year, our team were fortunate to have the ever-charming Solar Santa (who many of you would have met in the dust on account of his gift of solar powered charging stations) come visiting our office, and join our team out in the Tankwa at Quaggafontein for a short while. As always, he shares the love and puts the spotlight on the unsung heroes and heroines that make it all happen.

Click me and read me.



Once upon a time, in a faraway land, where socks always matched... there was a talented and rather creative nutter named Ilse Erasmus, who created a rollicking sock puppet adventure!

To find out more, dig into Ilse's contribution to our online e-Topia event, which happened way back in November last year. Click this, right here, for sock puppets and no small amount of witty banter and slightly mad sockness.

Thank you Ilse!



Turns out, that really is all. Why? Ah, well, you see, so…this is a bittersweet sign-off. After writing this here newsletter to you for the last 7 years, this is number 108 (an auspicious number, truth be told) and it’s my final Baardskeerder - because I’ll be vacating the AfrikaBurn Communications seat in a few short days.

Has it been fun, writing and ranting a colorful cascade of consonants and vowels all these years? Hell, I don’t think there are many humans fortunate enough to actually get paid to smash some sense out of a keyboard and have so much fun doing it. It’s been an absolute blast, from end to end - and I hope that you’ve enjoyed reading the Baardskeerder as much as I’ve loved writing it for you. And if you're concerned about what will happen to this newsletter, don't be: the very capable Brian Palmer (of
Radio Free Tankwa fame) is stepping in, and will no doubt carry the flame with aplomb.

Now, none of us know what the future holds (and that applies now more than ever before), but the rules of life about How To Be A Good Human don’t really change, no matter what the forecast might be. So keep on keeping on regardless, as you’ve done in such style thus far. Join the dots. Treat others like you’d like to be treated. Remember that praise shared is praise multiplied. Don’t let the kakness grind you down. Pimp your hood. Speak to your neighbours. Grow a garden. Listen without prejudice. Love your planet. Wear sunscreen. 

And whatever you do, wash your goddamn hands.

Love you, love your work, wish you the best and hope you win.


Travis Lyle,
Head of Communications (2014 - 2021)


Who made this?

Publisher, writer, editor: Travis Lyle
Proofreading & general eyes: Tim Doyle
Powered by: Andrew Weatherall, Renegade Soundwave, Moleke Mbembe, Mbongwana Star, Bongo Maffin, Felix Laband, arabica coffee, all the cigarettes and no small amount of fire.  

Still reading? And able to use your fingers and mouth, on an electronic computing device? Yes? Ah well - now for something completely different. Whatever your stance on gods and religion, who wouldn't want a direct line that enables them to talk to God. Or just a god. Right? Now, we’re not promoting any one god above any other, but if you’re interested in having a chat to a higher power, you can do this, online, from the comfort of your (insert lockdown location here) - IN ONE WEEK'S TIME. Click this, and prepare to meet your maker. Or just have a natter with an imaginary friend, or random deity. Shout out to the Talk To God crew, well played!


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