The Baardskeerder - AfrikaBurn's Newsletter - View web version


                      ('The Wish' by Brendan Smithers and The Upsetters, and 'Balloon Forest' by Burning Mail, October 2008 - photo by Graham Abbott)  


It's true, and has been since Pliny The Elder wrote it down, way back in the first century AD: Africa does always produce something new. And in 100 days or so, some of that innovation and experimentation is going to burst into life in a desert far far away in our very own Afroboratory - and it'll all be down to the sheer inventiveness of you, right there, and the other 12 999 participants that will create Tankwa Town together for the last time at Stonehenge Private Reserve. Say what now? True, every word: this year will be our last flaming hurrah at the event site that's been our home since 2007, as our event will be held at a new location in the Tankwa Karoo from 2021. And that can mean only one thing: this time round will be a very special year, and something of a grand family reunion around the campfire.

In this newsletter:



                                                                                                                                             (Die Hek, 9am, April 29th 2019 - photo by Jonx Pillemer)


So - and this would appear to indicate that our last hurrah at Stonehenge is attracting quite a lot of attention from old hands and veterans who'd like to come back to our event to say farewell to Stonehenge Private Reserve - our tickets are moving along pretty swiftly for this time of year. At least, swifter than previous years. And this would mean that you should try & get your tickets sooner, rather than later.


You'd know that General Sales are our standard ticket, but for those that can't afford full-priced tickets, there are lower-priced options available too. These would be Subisidised Tickets, and also Anathi Tickets (which are R200). Anathis are designed to enable inclusion, and are available to people living in, or are nationals of, Africa. You can't buy them at the checkout - rather, they need to be applied for, along with Access Grants. 

So, if you are (or know someone) who would really like to participate in our event, but can't afford the higher-priced ticket tiers and could also use some help with funds for transport and camping gear, take note: Anathi Ticket and Access Grant applications end on the 31st of this month.
Head this way to find out more, and share the info with anyone who could use it, thanks.

For more info on tickets,
head to the Tickets page of our website.


True also: that deadline's coming at you fast & furious, on Monday 3rd Feb. Click here to apply whilst you still can.


Holy flaming heck, there's a lot of OMG in store for us come the end of April this year. And by that, we mean over 30 truly spectacular artworks that have been funded from the Creative Grant pot this time round.

There are too many to list here, but here's a sample to whet your appetite: a giant Rubik's cube, a Bananoctpus from Russia, a temple of Curiosity, a giant dragon (with dance space), a giant butterfly named Prometheus, an interactive motion-sensitive sound tree, a Tea House, 2 x double helixes, a Vaginarium of Dreams, a gravity-driven wooden pendulum clock, a giant potjie pot where stories and culture are shared, a huge artwork built out of skateboards (which will be dismantled and donated to deserving young skaters in Imizamo Yethu), an enormous reclining rabbit (which will also be dismantled and re-erected in Loxton in the Karoo alongside the Riverine Rabbit Thinking Path), 3 Tswana pyramids and a Khoe village... the list is long, varied - and rammed with amazing.

And you can
find out all about the projects that were funded by your ticket money right here.


                    (Artwork & project materials - too heavy for any domestic vehicle or trailer - being delivered to our event site. Photo: Robert Weinek)


In case you were all 'WTF? Supplier registrations?', here's the lowdown: since around 2016 (when our operations team banned Plug & Play camp operators), we've set up some tight rules around what services and supplies can be provided by outside services at our event. When it comes to services, there are very few that are permitted, and among those are:

- water and firewood, supplied from a local farmer to camps, to raise funds for a local school (and alleviate camps from carrying large and heavy loads for long distances)
- large stretch tent erection (in terms of SA event law, any stretch tent over 100 square metres has to be erected by a certified crew, and signed off by an engineer)
- portable toilets (and this year will be the last time these can be brought into our event, because from 2021, our own eco-friendly toilets will more than cater to all needs on our new event site)

So that's services - but what about supplies? What about camp infrastructure and project materials like wood, metal, etc? Those, in line with our Supplier process, are able to be delivered to our event - but under no circumstances can paid staff be used to build, or work in, a camp. 

To make sure that Suppliers understand our event, and operate in line with our culture of decommodification, our team speak to each company that is active in relation to our event - and invite them to sign up as a registered Supplier. You too can also provide the details of a company to our team, so that important conversations can be had before they end up in the desert at our event.

For more about our Supplier process, and to view a list of authorised Suppliers,
head to the Supplier page of our website.



Ever wondered about those zippy e-bikes that are becoming more common in the dust? Do you own one? Got a mate who's driven around like a electrified nutter in the desert? Here's word from our DMV on where these powered scooters fit into the vehicular transport matrix: they're dangerous:

"All mutant vehicle and e-bikes must adhere to SA road rules & laws, and also all policies managed by our Department of Mutant Vehicles. The power of e-bikes and electric vehicles are registered in Watts, just like a drill or hairdryer: one horsepower is 75 Watts so, at AfrikaBurn, anythiong under 400 Watts is OK - but everything above must be registered and mutated, especially fat-wheeled scooters, which are heavy and can travel very fast." 

So, if you or a mate have an electrically-powered zoot scoot, heads up: you're going to need to register that sucker as a Mutant Vehicle, and dress it up so that it no longer looks like a normal vehicle (or else the DMV will impound your electrical beast, which will leads to tears.

Ready to register a Mutant Vehicle?
Log into our website, create a Collective, and then register your mobile beast using the Project Registration options in the right-hand sidebar.

                                                                                                                  (Ranger Basher wants YOU to sign up & train up as a Tankwa Town Ranger)


They're the caring volunteer humans that help to make sure other humans stay safe in the desert, and they're our community mediators - yep, they're our Rangers, and you could already be a member, just by being good with other humans. Sound like the kinda thing you'd like to volunteer for? Step right up!

Training at our HQ (in Salt River, Cape Town) is kicking off from Saturday 25th January, from 9am - 3pm. Snacks, tea and coffee will be served, and you're welcome to bring a little something to share for lunch.

To find out about Basic Ranger Traning,
head to this page of the Rangers' website.

And to read up more about who our Rangers are and what they do,
click on over this way.



The pirates over at our friendly radio station, Radio Free Tankwa, will have some special guests in the studio this Friday - and they're none less than members of the ILUKULUKU Temple of Curiosity! It's a big & ambitious project, and one that promises to hold a number of experiences that will beguile the curious and leave us all awestruck and amazed. 

To find out all about the project, and to catch interviews with the ITOC collective's crew members who'll share updates on how the project build is progressing, tune in and turn on at this Friday from 6 to 8, as ShowerQGuy and General Feelgood roll out their regular TGIF Show.

This radio station >
right here < which is free gratis and mahala and plays amazing music (and fokol adverts) 24/7/365.

                                                                                                     (Some fresh signage for our Lost & Found Booth, as made at the last Volunteer Day)


Once a month on a 3rd Saturday, our Volunteer crew throw open the doors to our luxurious mansion....uh, wait, that's not right. Once a month, the gates to our our humble headquarters are thrown wide open, and in pours a growing army of willing volunteers who step up and help out with a bunch of creative tasks & projects.

The next one's coming up in a few week's time - and this time round, they'll be cracking on with creating some signs & an Africa Art installation for Chillaz (which is the new name of our revamped Off-Centre Camp Stage), as well as making flags and moop bags. Oh - and for code freaks, there'll also be a Hackathon which will see geeks mess around with a number of items like RocketChat and Raspberry Pi (and you're welcome to bring tech toys along to tinker with).

Sound like the kinda creative stuff you're up for? Grand, get involved:

When: Saturday Feb 15th, 10am - 4pm
Where: Our HQ, 8 Junction Rd, Salt River, Cape Town


As we tool up for our 14th experimental event, so we're looking for specific skills to help our team crack the many tasks that are necessary to make this wild machine named AfrikaBurn keep moving. Our Volunteer team are specifically looking for:

- Artists & creatives that can draw and paint
- Metalworkers
- Communications liaisons who can help facilitate volunteer enquiries
- Admin assistants

If you've got skills, give our Volunteer crew a shout on (or head to the Participation page of our website to see the many roles & tasks you could help with).


                                                                                                                                                                                          (Thanks to Kay for this shot)


Out there, in a crazy-busy experimental desert city, things can get a little hectic sometimes. Between the wind, the heat & cold, the many loud noises, exhaustion, intoxication and general over-stimulation, even the most hardened dust lover needs to find their centre and happy place - and sometimes, it takes a little help from friends or friendly strangers.

That's what our Sanctuary is there for: it provides a safe & supportive space for overwhelmed participants, 24/7, and is manned by qualified and caring crew. And they're now open for applications from anyone with experience in harm reduction, medical & mental health and/or psychological counselling. If this sounds like the deeper AfrikaBurn experience you're after that would enable you to explore more of your ability, you're welcome to sign up:

Click here to sign up to volunteer at our Sanctuary (or see
the Sanctuary page of our website if you'd like to know more)



Our organisation has grown and changed quite a bit since back in 2007, when about a dozen capable crew carried the can to make it all happen - and as we've grown up into a dinkum community-based non-profit, so our needs for good governance and leadership has grown too. Which brings us to where we are now - our Directorship is undergoing some healthy changes, meaning that we have two new positions available: 

- Executive Director: Operations
- Executive Director: Development

Think you have the skills that would suit one of these positions? We'd like to hear from you - please
head to the Vacancies page of our website to read more about what the positions entail, and to see how to apply.



There are over 100 projects already registered on our website ahead of this year's event (and you can view those here - and also connect with crews that are looking for humans with specific skills) - and as we race towards our date with the dust, so many project Collectives are calling out for collaborators. Tuck in, connect, make magic happen.

                                                                                                                                                            (Thanks to the State of Bliss crew for this shot)


State of Bliss will once again be bringing to life their late-night piano lounge and exotic tea bar, and are seeking piano players and accompanying musicians to perform in their fine establishment, taking patrons away on musical meanderings and internal ponderings. If you'd like to join the lineup, please reach out to

The camp is also open to new members who wish to collaborate and co-create magical experiences, and is particularly seeking groups of international Burners who are looking for a camp in Tankwa Town. Visit their site for more info.



If you ever wanted proof of just how much an experimental playground our Afroboratory is, look no further than the incredible Flower Spider. Here's word from James Clayton, project genius and main driver:

"The Flower Spider is a giant pneumatic floral robot that's been several years in the making. The plan has been to get it to walk across the Binnekring, but that's been unfortunately thwarted on several occasions, sometimes by the cut and thrust of human existence, but mainly because the difficulties in making a custom autonomous robot walk were drastically underestimated. After an extended hiatus in order to comprehend the entire field of robotics, and informed Plan B is now on the table."

If you've got skills that could add to the success of Flower Spider,
head to the Facebook page and take a look at the project and the roles that James is looking for.




The crew behind the temple of curiosity that is ILUKULUKU are hosting another paintathon this weekend - and here's word from project lead Sean Sebastian: 

"Every year for the past 4 years, many burners would come up to me and 'What's the time?'. Dumbfoundedly, I would wonder for a minute and would simply answer "The time is NOW!" Yep, that's right - we're painting more panels this weekend, and need YOU to get your neon on. Come & join us if you're in Cape Town and help us raising the temple off the ground."

For more info, email



From project lead Danielle: "Hello musicians and singers! We're throwing back to the previous century (1931 to be exact) with musicians that love a good old standard, aka 'Dream A Little Dream Of Me', recorded over 60 times and made most famous by The Mamas And The Papas. If you can sing or play it live (we want live!) we would love to hear from you to support our installation. BYOG. #bringyourowngear #dreamalittledream2020 #darksky #starsshiningrightaboveme"

Yes? Damn fine - check out
more info about the project here, and contact to step up.





The Willow Room Collective invites you to join them on the sprawling dancefloor of The Octopi & I, to fundraise for Sonus Arbor, the installation they're bringing to the dust this year. Get ready for striking visual projections, a bar offering an assortment of tasty drinks and music that will make you wiggle as you spend a night dancing under the stars - Welcome To The Willow!

When: Friday, February 7th, 8pm - 1am
Where: The Octopi & I, 100 Voortrekker Rd, Cape Town
Tickets: R100,
get 'em on Quicket
Event page on Facebook? Right here.

About Sonus Arbor: you find yourself in front of a willow tree. As you pull back the curtain of branches, soft waves of sounds begin to ripple through the great tree. You want to play. Sonus Arbor (the sound tree) is an interactive installation combining music and design through motion. The music around you changes according to your position within the tree, inviting you to interact with the space, making music with your friends.

Find the project on
Instagram and Facebook.



A giant extravagant vagina slide, which features a whole lot more than what you can see at first glance? Sounds about right for our experimental city of dust! Yes indeed, The Vaginarium of Dreams is coming - but to raise a vagina slide takes crew, materials and transport - so if you'd like to support this project, head on over to their crowdfunder right here.



The Riverine Rabbit is an endangered species indigenous to South Africa (like our event, it's found in the Karoo and Northern Cape) - and artist Heidi Smith is creating a 20m x 4m x 2m interactive artwork that will first be erected at this year's event, before heading to its permanent home in Loxton in the Karoo, where it will provide an opportunity for people to learn about the Riverine Rabbit and the fragility of the Karoo ecosystem.

Interested in helping make this artwork come to life and go on to do good work beyond our event?
Click here to support if you're an international, or here if you're South African


The Our Workshop crew are coming back! Yep - the posse that experienced their first burn last year are frothing to get back to the dust and do it all over again, offering a repair & maker experience as they go. They're an amazingly capable bunch of humans from Langa in Cape Town who know their way around recycling, repurposing and upcycling - and they're keen to share those skills with more people this time round.

Show some love & support for these fabulous humans -
donate to their crowdfunder right here!



Yoh, this one was a long one - but that's January for you: our community always kicks off the year with a spurt, as all system get set to go. Now, chances are you'll be bumping into some old hands & camp veterans as you go about your business in the next few weeks - so we'd like to request that (as this year's event will be last at Stonehenge) you alert those old hands, in case they weren't aware. We've got some big plans for the last hurrah on the land that's been home to us for so long, and we'd like to share it all.


Travis Lyle
Head of Communications and Coffee


Still reading? Lekker - in case you hadn't seen them on our social media channels, we've been sharing videos from the very first years of our event's existence. To check out an astonishing clip from 2007, click here - and to see the event in 2008 through the eyes of the Desert Rose crew, click here.


Each One Teach One - Share this newsletter!



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