The Baardskeerder - AfrikaBurn's Newsletter - View web version

Baardskeerder masthead design by Mea Waffle

                                                                   (Mighty or Mini Bench? Real news or fake news? Thanks to Tankwa trickster JP De Villiers for this shot)  


If you identify strongly with something that fulfills hopes you’d always held, and gives you a very real sense of who you are, and ways to become the You that you’d always wanted to be - and that thing is for some reason absent, then who are you? If your sense of self is so strongly wed to something so singular, then what do you have left, to make of yourself in its absence? What if this all falls apart according to plan in the face of a global pandemic that up-ends everything we’ve come to know as reliable, dependable, predictable and certain - what then?

Well folks, now is when we find out. How useful are the skills you learned in the dust? What translates well from the crazy creative cacophony that we collectively whip up out of a patch of barren desert, into a world where challenges are the new normal, and unpredictability is the only reliable constant? Are you locked down and holding out for balmier days when convenience and consumerism are once again only a comforting credit card away? Or are you forearmed with a formidable range of skills that have equipped you to handle curveballs and chaos with aplomb, and are taking it all on with a renewed sense of vigour, and a yen to change the picture for the better?


In this newsletter:



                                                                                                  (On the other side of this anvil, everything was different, photo: Jonx PIllemer, 2019)


In a normal year at this point, we’d usually be basking in the afterglow of another dusty desert experiment. But these are not normal times, and for the 7065 members of our community that had bought tickets by the time our 2020 event was cancelled back in March, the new normal's challenges have an added ingredient of disappointment.

For those 7065 ticket holders - and for everyone else in our community that's requested clarity on refunds - we have an update that's just been published on our website and across our social media channels. And the update is? Unfortunately and frustratingly, it's that we do not yet have a definitive answer on whether refunds will be yet be possible, or what form they will take - and the reasons for this are explained in the Refund Update article we've published on our website today. In short, the reasons are related to legal processes and the slow pace at which the cogs of insurance companies turn.

Does that mean we're going to give up on our promise to do our best to provide refunds? No chance: we’re doing everything we can to get the best outcome for every ticket holder. It hasn't been an easy process so far, but we’re going to keep at it - and we will continue to keep you informed, as soon as any significant developments become available.

Read the Refund Update announcement on our website, right here.

(and in case you hadn't read the prior update provided on April 1st, you can find that here).


                                                       (DPW's Lucky Luke on the job during erection of wash stations for homeless folks on Main Rd, Obs, Cape Town)                                                                                   


Little did we know that the toilet units rolled out at our main annual event in the desert would go on to become the core of a greater programme that would become instrumental in providing much-needed personal sanitation solutions for the homeless community in the area of Cape Town where our HQ is located. But that’s how we roll, as an organisation and as a community: the lessons we’ve learnt in the desert over the years continue to provide us with ways to invent the world anew beyond the dust.

We're happy to report that there are movements afoot that will see The Dignity Project ramp up and roll out more toilet and wash station units, in partnership with civic bodies and community-based organisations.

Find out more here, on the latest published update about The Dignity Project on our website.


                                                                                                  (How do you make a bench go 'woof'? With some fuel and a box of matches, obviously. Photo: JP De Villiers)


Once upon a time in a desert far, far away...a Mighty Bench stood in the perfect sundowner location. Legend (and a live video stream) has it that the bench was burned... but aha - nope. The Tankwa trickster foiled us all - because the Mighty Bench lives! But Mini Bench, a tiny replica, did burn...and in the process some folks got very pissed off believing that 'their' favourite sunset bench was no longer. But it was all in aid of raising awareness about Collexodus, which is our usual annual way of gathering food and dry goods in support of feeding the kids at the local school, Elandsvlei Primary. It turns out, the donations of dry goods and food that you drop off at Collexodus as you exit Tankwa Town feeds no less than 40 kids, for an entire year - which is incredible, when you come to think of it.

But the burn didn't happen this year - and neither did Collexodus. This leaves the kids at the school facing a tough year - and it leaves us wanting to assist them even if we can't be in the Tankwa. So far, the donations drive has drummed up almost R36 000 - but we're holding out that the many community members that know of and have built connections with Elandsvlei over the years will help nudge that up to the R50,000 goal.

To show the kids at Elandsvlei Primary School in the Tankwa some love,
click here to get to the donations page

            (Thanks to Carmel Ives and the Gaia's Song temple team for this shot of their small-scale model, burned Sunday 8pm during HomeBurn)


This year, while we didn’t physically go to Tankwa Town, and didn't sweat and grunt changing tyres, or enjoy the olfactory experience of the pungent Sunday hugs, we did feel the warmth of the fires and of our community - online! Yep, we hosted our first HomeBurn and little did we know when we called out for folks to contribute events, live streams, burns and general creative chaos that we'd be flooded with more content than we could handle. To everyone that participated, well done - turms out, there's a lot of Tankwa Town that can be brought alive in backyards, lounges and discussion forums!

What's more - hold onto your fascinator, Karen - according to our analytics, 115 000 people accessed, viewed or interacted with the 2-day programme of events during HomeBurn.
And now that we've firmly established that our community (in South Africa, and also across the globe) are keen and willing to share their quirks and creations digitally, we hve plans afoot for another online AfrikaBurn gathering - so look out for news on eCompression, whch will happen July 4th.

To help us prep for eCompression in a way that answers your interests, we're inviting you to send in your feedback and input, so we can tool eCompression (and other future online gatehrings) up to be an even better experience.

Got an opinion? Bright ideas? Something to say? Great - drop 'em into
our HomeBurn Feedback form.


                                     (A highlight of HomeBurn was Nathan Victor Honey's 'Pangolin and Phoenix' artwork and burn - photo by the man himself)

As though his fabulous 20-minute 'Lockdown Mini-Burn' film wasn't enough of a great contribution to the HomeBurn schedule, Ronnie Jack (who many may know as Solar Santa, the generous geezer who gifts free device charging at his solar-powered camp) went ahead and put the spotlight behind the scenes of HomeBurn.  

To meet members of the tech team, art wranglers and artists that contributed to HomeBurn, head over to our Binnekring Blog to read all 4 of Ronnie's interviews.

Click here to meet Skippy, Isa, Nathan and The Tim Doyle in Solar Santa's series of interviews.


                (When we say 'No Camping Beyond This Point', people often can't see the flash flood zones...but you can, here on Steve Searle's photo)


So, what do you do when you have a gap year and a beautiful new blank canvas for 2021? Besides taking mental trips around Tankwa Town? You start planning for Tankwa Town Quaggafontein! These are some (not all) of the things we consider:

• Placemaking/Sense of place: neighbourhoods, boulevards, Ramblas, plazas, spaces for play, habitats for all ages,
  alleyways, Theme Camps. optimising viewpoints for major artworks.
• Heritage. Memorial/Commemoration. The views!
• Siting and planning OCC, DPW, medics and Sanctuary. Gate. Airport. Fire Services. Rangers.
• Sanitation, more regular spacing of toilets.
• Orientation, navigability and landmark elements.
• Quiet and Loud zones.
• No-go areas.
• Road and camping site layouts
• Wind direction, quantity and location, accessibility and serviceability.
• What are the opportunities in having a larger area?

Got feedback and suggestions? Fabulous - send those in:



                                                                                                                                                                      (The DPW Hammer artwork sketch, by H)


Our Art Committee are coming up with creative ways to meet the challenges of lockdown - so they're going to get down and dirty like the old days and do some fundraising activities to create a kitty of sorts that can be used to assist creative crews in the next round.

So, creatives and art-loving creators, this is their appeal to you - please consider using this time at home to create and donate a small artwork(s) that can be used for fundraising as soon as the time is right. Think of a standard A5, in whatever medium that blows your hair back. 

What to include:

  • Your Name
  • Phone Number
  • Physical address (If you're in the Cape Town area the works will be collected from you by appointment and then stored at AB headquarters for collection after lockdown)
  • Title and medium of the work.
  • High Res image of the work.

Yes? Wonderful - email for submissions, questions, and remote art chakra massages.

(OK, we made up the art chakra thing)




When we gather in the Tankwa Karoo in our masses, there's a crew that most folks aren't much aware of - unless some form of kak hits the fan, and then they're the very first humans that are sought out: that would be our Event Guardians. Over the years, these good folks have become firm members lof our AfrikaBurn family - and this includes the dashing and caring Lee Sharples, who somehow never seems to have a care in the world.

Right now, though, he might have a care or two, as he lives at a backpacker's lodge he owns in the Transkei, which, understandably under lockdown, is dead empty. Equally, all of his crew that would otherwise have been employed at our event are of course not seeing time in the Tankwa as Event Guardians.

So this is an appeal to you, our AfrikaBurn family, to help other members of our family -
check out the info here, and share some love.

                                                                                        (Life giving you lemons? You could always take up a spot of naaing. Photo: Clair Harriman)


Our Volunteer team has been active in Covid-19 relief efforts, by assisting community leaders in Mitchell's Plain with food supplies, sanitary items, goodies for kids to keep busy indoors as well as donations received as part of our Blessing Bags campaign. As part of the lead-up to the 2020 event, our Fluffers Lead was printing and creating a range of awesome t-shirts, buffs, aprons and other really awesome stash. And because we're a re-use and recycle community, she has creatively turned the material into masks instead to distribute to the Mitchell's Plain community during this time of need.

We reckon it's safe to say that to recipients of these masks will be some of the coolest cats in Mitchell's Plain! Thank you Clair! We are so happy to have you on the team - your creativity is appreciated & will never go to waste.

If you are in the capacity to be making masks for us to distribute, please connect with us on - it's hugely appreciated by the community!


The times they are a-changing. Fruit flies like a banana - and time flies like an arrow. It's time for change (and you can start with that lockdown haircut - it's scaring the neighbour's kids). But seriously, the times they are most definitely changing - and we should all raise a glass to...oh right.

Until next time, stay real, caring and positive out there.


Who made this?

Publisher, writer, editor: Travis Lyle
Proofreading & general eyes: Tim Doyle
Powered by: moerkoffie, Jamie XX remixes, positive thoughts, chamomile-flavoured rolling tobacco and homebrewed spirit.


Still reading? Lekker. Interested in taking a virtual trip to the Tankwa? Here you go, enjoy.


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