The Baardskeerder - AfrikaBurn's Newsletter - View web version

 (Demarcation Crew - Joel, Bronya, Frankie and Sonica - in Rommel, 2018, as shot by the fabulous Leigh Page)  

A season for planning sessions with your crew, a season for pozi-drives and paint, a season for scrambling like a mad thing, a season for packing your car, trailer and a season for hammering rebar into the Tankwa shale and hanging onto your tent for dear life when the gale hits - and of course, afterward, a season for dusting off and gazing a thousand yards into the distance, trying to make sense of it all. But right now, as spring starts showing its first green shoots at the start of our yearly cycle, it's the season for announcements about What Lies Ahead. Ready? Set....go. 

In this newsletter:




                                                          (And just exactly what the hell do you call this? Uh... Tuesday night in Tankwa Town, is what. Photo: Jonx Pillemer)


Every year, thousands of amateur scientists gather in a remote desert region of Africa in the name of experimentation. We call it Tankwa Town - and it's not so much a city as a laboratory within which technology, alchemy, pyrotechnics, sculpture, design and art are all fair game. Results may vary, weird feedback is guaranteed - and everyone's welcome.

The Afroboratory awaits.

Yes indeed, we have our theme for 2020 in hand - and it's one that invites anyone into the crucible of ideas that is Tankwa Town to step in and subject their ideas to trial and error. Ready to dig into the 2020 theme?

Click here to read about our 2020 theme: Afroboratory

                                                                                                (Temple of Stars by Walter Bohmer and The Starlights, 2019, as shot by Shandor Hrabar)


While the rest of Tankwa Town might be a mad and wonderfully chaotic place, there's always been a space of quiet and contemplation which has attracted our community into its welcoming calm: our Temple. Over the years, the structures have taken different forms and have been built by different crews, but the purpose and meaning has always been the same: it's where we go to give thanks, let go, make dedications and pay our respects to those no longer with us.

If you've ever had an idea for a Temple structure, here's your chance to make it happen - we're calling out for concepts and designs that could go on to become the Temple in Tankwa Town in 2020.

Read up and submit your Temple 2020 applications here.

                                                                                                                                                                              (Shot of 2008 ticket stubs from our Vault)

Right now, we only have news about Mayday Tickets, which are designed to cater to folks who really REALLY want to secure their tickets far in advance. Mayday Tickets are on sale, cost R2 700, and serve two purposes: they enable people to plan way in advance (largely people with flights to book etc.), and they also help to subsidise the cost of all our other ticket categories. So if you're flush and would like to help keep ticket prices for everyone else steady, go right ahead and buy Maydays. And no, General Sales tickets aren't R2 700 (as usual, they're much cheaper than Maydays).

And other tickets including Kid's, Anathi's, Subsidised and so on? Soon come - sit tight for news on when those sales will go live. We expect to have that info in hand in about a month's time (or in our next newsletter).



In 2015, our team came up with the brave and slightly crazy idea of bringing the spirit of our city of dust alive, in urban areas. Turns out, it wasn't such a crazy idea after all - as is evident from the growth of Streetopia from a small gathering in its first year to what it's now become: a bustling, free, street festival that's seeing a wide range of artists, performers, crafters and creatives participate. And now, we're poised to see it spread wings into new territory - and that means Jozi!


Yep - on the 12th of October, Melville will see the first Streetopia Jozi kick off, and judging by the response thus far, it's set to feature just as much colour and good vibrations as the Obs affair. Ahead of the big day, the Jozi event team are hosting prep days - and you're invited to the very first, which happens this weekend.

Jozi Prep Session

When: Saturday August 17th, 11am - 4pm
Where: 58 Austin Rd, Glen Austin, Midrand, Gauteng
What: painting, sewing and meeting lekker new friends 

Event page on Facebook is right here (with contact details for the Jozi event team)

Obs Prep Session

Meanwhile, down in Cape Town, our team will also be prepping materials ahead of this year's Streetopia, which as always will be on the streets of Obs (and this year, it all happens on November 30th). 

When: Saturday August 17th, 10am - 4pm
Where: AfrikaBurn HQ, 8 Junction Rd, Salt River, Cape Town
What: painting, painting of street signage, lunch with the crew

Event page on Facebook is right here

                                                                                                                                               (All it takes is some lights and initiative. Shot by Paul Perton)


Now any old punter can wonder into one of many stores (on, or offline) and pick up a mass-produced mask, costume, accessory or coat that will light you up... and it will always be one of a few hundred thousand identical pieces. But you, you're an individual - and we, we're a maker culture, not a consumer culture. Moral of the story? Learn to make it yourself, and you'll learn skills that will serve you well, whilst saving the planet from an even greater landfill apocalypse.

Sound good? Brilliant - come on down to our HQ this weekend if you're in Cape Town, and join our Outfit Hack! At the workshop, you'll be shown ways to dismantle and remantle the various elements required to light up any old thing, using LED's, solder, battery packs, EL wire and pretty much anything that can be cannabilised from old fairy lights or LED strips. Yes? Lekker - here are the details:

When: Saturday 17th August, 10am - 2pm
Where: AfrikaBurn HQ, 8 Junction Rd, Salt River, Cape Town
What: wires, lights, batteries, fabric, solder, joy

Want an Event Page with that? Here you go.

(if you can, bring your own components, and our team of hackers will happily take you through the basics of how to do it yourself)


More hacking? Dead right - on the same day as the Outfit Hack session, our inhouse geeks and a bunch of code-loving freaks will also be gathering to tinker with a wide range of tech that they've been working on - including but not limited to apps, api's, mesh networks and other elements of our growing tech systems in, and out of, the desert.

Sound like your bag of binary? Step right this way:

When: Saturday 17th August, 10am - 2pm
Where: AfrikaBurn HQ, 8 Junction Rd, Salt River, Cape Town
What: api for apps and custom scheduler, code, geekery, tech
Event page link on Facebook?
Here you go.

Can't make it physically, but want to, virtually? There's a Hangout for that.   

Want more background info on what our tech team have been cooking up?
Check this out.

                                                                            (BRC build crew wax the Man using groundsheets because, well, leave no trace. Photo: John Curley)

...our far-flung family of dust lovers are hard at it, prepping the many thousands of moving parts that make up the Gerlach Regional, out on the dried alkali bed of Lake Lahontan that forms the playa of the Burning Man event. Photographer, blogger and all round gent John Curley's been documenting the many movements that are happening in dust and heat. To get a taste of the hard work that goes into getting everything in place, on time, check out his pieces on the BM Journal.  



We were hoping that we would be able to bring you news in today's newsletter of our imminent new Image Galleries, which have been the subject of lots of development for some time now. Sadly, the gods of code have not smiled on us - but we can let you know that very soon, the glorious new look and functionality of our galleries will take flight. And they will include 2018 and 2019 shots that will blow your mind (and be browsable in a much easier format).

The journey's been a long one - because we've chosen to create a system that enables photographers to load their shots to our website along with tags and categories that would make it easier for you to search for the various aspects of our main annual event that you're interested in. 

Thanks for your patience; soon come, watch our channels for the announcement.


In other news, behind the scenes our team have been working on opening project registrations much, much earlier than ever before - and that's in progress right now. Why? For many of the crews and camps that bring repeat projects, this makes life a whole lot better as far as re-using past project info, and for some crews who are already working on their 2020 projects, it means they're able to have their project info on hand on our Tribe system where their Collective collaborates using the various planning tools at their disposal. Oh, you didn't know? Sit tight - we have some fantastic news coming on those fronts.

Travis Lyle
Minister of Info

Hey, want to take a crack at something that could be crazy fun? Check this out - BMIR (Burning Man's community radio station) have set up a Phone Experiment, which allows random people at the Burning Man event to pick up a phone and ask any question. If you add your number, you could end up getting a call about, well, anything really. There's no telling, but it's likely going to be lots of laughs. Keen? Sign up here for the weirdness.


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