The Baardskeerder - AfrikaBurn's Newsletter - View web version

 (Hic sunt solitudinem: pic by Papa Deadly)

Though we pack our lives into vehicles to get to it, our desert city is not the destination. Every ephemeropolis we build is transient, as are we, its citizens. We come together, we create, and we move on again but our destination is not Tankwa Town; it’s a state of mind. We go to extremes to get out of our comfort zones and come together because we’re in search of the same thing. We’re collectively navigating our way to a better place, because we’re in general agreement that the default world is short on heart, thin on humanity and full of shit. We’re looking to find a place where that’s turned on its head and we can revive our spirit. On the way - if we do it right - we’ll have experiences that will rub us raw, remind us of the important things and teach us how to be better humans.

All aboard the Desert Epiphany Express...

In this newsletter:



That's it for our second general ticket sale, folks: it's done & dusted. If you know anyone still sniffing around for tickets at this (relatively) late stage, let them know that our STEP system for resold tickets is now open. As it's a queuing system, the sooner tickets are placed back into the system, or requested, the sooner they're matched and dispatched. Got tickets you want to sell? Or need tickets?




Every year, we send out a call for Creative Grant Applications - and each time we get a flood of amazing projects that come forward to request funding support. We're never able to fund all projects 100% but spread the grant pot around so that support can be extended to as many projects as possible.

And now, art lovers and dust fiends, we're happy to provide the list of the 25 projects awarded Creative Grants this year, with details of the projects. It's got weathervanes, dizzy ostriches, giant baobabs, confession booths, Edward Snowden, massive puppets with moving parts, Fibonacci spirals, breaching Orcas, firenados, rocking horses, unicorns - hell, there's even a desert water harvester in the mix - and a whole lot more. 

Check out this year's Creative Grant list right here - and look out for them all in the dust. Massive thanks to all the crews who stepped up and applied - good luck with everything! 

(Mutants Blah Blah Car, Buggalux and Tankwa Taxi in the dust last year: photo by Sean Furlong)


Of all the amazing creations that people bring to the desert (and there are many) Mutant Vehicles have the most potential to do real damage. It’s a reality that serious incidents on site have involved Mutant Vehicles. Not because their crews are reckless - they’re largely not - but the possibility for injury is huge. Which is why our DMV crew always make a lot of noise about making sure anyone bringing a Mutant Vehicle gets it registered - and why the registration process involves checks on stuff like safety considerations, lights, walkers and so on.

It’s also why Mutants that arrive at the event without being registered get parked and stay parked: if they haven’t been OK’d as safe, and they don’t arrive with an approval letter, they can’t ride. So hear this now if you have a Mutant you plan on bringing:


Got Mutant? You've still got some time, so get that sucker registered to ride. Get it registered, quicksmart, HERE.



(Yep, it's true: you've gazed upon the first look of this year's guide. Here's Jeanne Kepaan's cover)


Trekking into the desert? Look, it's an amazing experience but let's be clear: if you don't bone up on all the necessary knowledge then, unlike Gloria Gaynor, you won't survive. We're happy to say that this year's guide is almost ready for you, and an eyeful of gorgeous it is too, thanks to the amazing skills of volunteer designer Jeanne Kepaan and a clutch of similarly talented designers and illustrators she's wrangled into action.

But wait, there's more! This year's guide will be available in 3 languages for the first time: English, Afrikaans and isiXhosa. Thanks to Mava, Thembela and Craigieji Makhosi for their efforts in helping us bring this to life. Siyabulela!

Keep those peepers peeled for the release of this year's guide: soon come.




As the wheel of the year turns, so things start getting really busy across the length and breadth of our community - and that means a whole lotta volunteer sessions and opportunities. If you're looking for ways to plug into the action, or are asking yourself how you can contribute to helping make this modest campfire gathering kick off smoothly, look no further.

                                             (A salute to the dame in the box: RIP Justine Butler, always smiling in our memories. Thanks to Mariana Martin for this shot)


We all lose something out there in the dust. Apparently occasionally even marbles, some of us. Chances are if you do, your item will end up in our Lost & Found booth, which has been renamed Just(IN)e, in honour of Justine, our Chief Whip who passed away earlier this year. To reclaim your items, you might receive a spanking and a good old fashioned talking-to and then, voila! One of our booth chiefs will pop to the back of the booth and you'll be reunited with your stuff.

One of the most rewarding ways to volunteer in Tankwa Town is in Just(IN)e - and if you're keen to join their team, you can sign up for shifts RIGHT HERE.

                                                                                                                    (Step right up: this isn't a spectator sport. Thanks to Jonx Pillemer for this shot)


Our Volunteer crew now have their very own clubhouse on social media, so if you're looking to stay in touch with all the action on that front, pop over to their page, do the thing and you'll be kept up to date. Over the next few weeks they'll be doing spotlights on the various volunteer roles to help you decide which slot suits you best.

Check out the new
Volunteer page on Facebook right here.

Got questions or anything to share on the volunteering front? Hit them up on



If you've already got an idea of how you'd like to volunteer and it involves skills in the area of art, then you've got your work cut out, nailed, sprayed and erected for you. If you're keen to join an existing creative team, you can sign up as an Artwork Volunteer. Or, if you want to help artists in Tankwa Town without joining a particular crew, you could always step up and join our Arteria team.

Arteria involves assisting creative crews with their artworks and placement, burn schedules, safety, and all manner of other arty queries. Like the sound of it?
Here's where you can sign up for shifts.

                                                    (Going out in a blaze of glory: here's 'Project O' by Nathan Honey and crew at its dawn burn last year, shot by Jonx P)


Got a love for fire, and safety? Got Ranger training? Our Rangers are calling out for Fire Perimeter Marshals. These are the solid crew who manage crowds at burns by keeping them a safe distance from flames. Because, you know, fire's beautiful, but helluva dangerous when done wrong. if this sounds like your kinda thing, step right on up and join the Marshals, they'd be happy to have you, and here's where you can sign up for shifts.

Got any questions? Shoot Ranger Chrigi a mail on






The Flow Arts Commune is aiming to assist international burners with space in their camp. Looking for a camp to get immersed in with a bunch of folks from many walks of life and maybe play with fire or build stuf? Got a talent for building pillow forts? Drop them a mail on to start chatting.

For more info on their camp - which hosts many of the flow artists who perform The Dance Of A Thousand Flames before the Clan goes up - check out their Facebook page here.



There's an Orca coming to the desert this year - and it's looking for its pod of friends. Artist Roelien Brink has one life-size mother of a nine meter whale, and is aiming to have at least seven (and ideally 31) in the pod. To make that happen, the project needs some support, and you right there can make that happen.

To get a glimpse of this magnificent creature, watch for the orca float at the Cape Town Carnival this Saturday.  You can donate on via snapscan or on the Quicket links found on the project website.



Retha Bloem's hosting a play session with clay in the desert. Here's what she has to say:

"Re-connect with your inner child and play, with clay.... come and join us as volunteers in this co-creating space - let's see what will emerge.... perhaps a sense of self, a sense of identity.. or just fun... please mail us for more details... what do we need from you? a sense of creative energy, a need to connect with your inner child, ceramic clay... we will provide the rest.. email us at "



What in the flaming blazes? Uhuh, that's right: there's an autonomous chocolate droid in the autonomous zone. Here's word from The ChockyBot crew:

"ChockyBot is back and is ready to choc 'n rol!. He's a solar-powered, remote-controlled chocolate and vodka fountain, dispensing real chocolate and real vodka and real love. We will publish a map of daily locations on FB, and set it up. But from there, each day, it will drive itself off into playful mischief - and we'd love to meet a few citizens of TankwaTown who want to play and can take Chocky to places we don't know about yet. Wanna crack your little nut open,and play with us, drop us a line on
our Facebook page or over on our Instagram."


Our DMV crew are casting medallions from recycled aluminium cans (which are very likely beer cans): one's a DMV medallion and the other's a Clan. Keen to snag one of these and support them in their fundraising efforts? Shoot a mail to the intrepid Stofadil hunter Paul Fletcher at




When a man in a pink dress tells you to help the kids, you hop to it. Here's word from Trevor from the Tankwa Town Library crew:

"Our Library is looking for books to stock the shelves again this year. Got any good books that you want to part with?  We're happily collecting! We're after new Afrikaans books for kids and adults that are distributed to the local schools in the Tankwa - if you're stuck for gifting ideas this is a fabulous chance to contribute. You can either drop off before we head off to the desert or pop in to the Library and drop off. Last year we gifted over 600 books to local schools - let's see if we can better than that this year. The schools also have requested  stationery, so you welcome to gift that too. Contact me on or visit our Facebook group"


                                                                                                          (Last year's MiniKring was a massive hit, in a miniature way. This shot: Sean Furlong)



The Minikring is burn, in miniature and the crew that co-ordinates it is Inviting submissions for the Lilliput of the burn. Always wanted to burn an artpiece in Tankwa Town, but not able to fund or build large art? Now you can make a mini artwork for to burn or blow up (maximum height: 1 metre).

This year's list has a bunch of works you'd recognise from past years: Trike with Lady Davina Browne, Subterrafuge, the DMV arch, exploding long drop toilets, the Tintin rocket, Lizzy the T-Rex, L2H2, TARDIS and more. Mail Paul on to add your piece to the biggest little burn in our city.


                                                                                  (There they are, the roots of a massive tree. Thanks to Kaospilot Agust Örn Helgason‎ for this progress shot.)


They're out there, right now, in the baking Tankwa heat. And they're building a 37m tall, 20m wide Yggdrasil tree with a giant Viking ship at the top. For real. But to scale those lofty heights, they need your support - and you can show them some love over on their crowdfunding page. For more info, head over to their Facebook group.



The Theatre of Playful Banter needs your help! They're creating a space for live music jams and will have a small PA. Got an electric guitar, acoustic guitar, percussion, drum kit, microphone, or any instrument they could borrow? You can also just bring your musical toys, rock up and come play with them. They're also looking for carpets, curtains and other deco to give their space a real theatre feel. Get in touch via or


Here's word from the crew that built that amazing woodwork train station:

"The Hauptbahnhof Play is looking for it's voice! Must have some amazing tonal qualities to it, rich texture and malleability. Should be able to mesmerize, improvise, put spells on ears and hearts with hints of funny wits. Will be closely collaborating with DJs. Think fairytale, think vaudeville, think poems, think myth. Think old age, think kid, think animal, think thing. Think echo, think whisper, think spooky, think trickster. Anyway, you got the drill...think magical words brewing the thrill!

So...hey there storyteller, please whistle to: "



Up in Jozi, the Temple crew have been at it for weeks already, knocking together the many pieces that will make up an amazing Temple Of Gratitude in a few short weeks. But to get their crew and materials down to the Tankwa, and get the structure up right and on time, they need some help - please consider supporting them over on their crowdfunding page - after all, what goes around now comes around in the dust soon.



Here's word from the Naked Rainbow crew:

"Want to join us in the liberating, playful process of body-painting yourself a solid colour chosen from the rainbow to saunter through the playa as a moving Naked Spectrum? We're still recruiting and would love for you to join us - the more the merrier! It's a delightful way of celebrating the skin you are in :) All information can be found on the link below...there you go! We are aiming for at least 70 of us (10 of each colour - which colour are you?)"

Find out more on
their Facebook page.



The Sky Play Team (AKA the Mother City SkyDiving club) are excited to announce the first ever tandem skydive into our city! Here's word from the crew that manages our airspace and keeps flying things safe in the air or on the ground:

"Special permission has been granted for one, that's just one, Tandem SkyDive into AfrikaBurn… Thats right, "into AfrikaBurn! This extra special fundraising initiative will see the highest bidder strapped to a highly experienced Tandem Instructor, flown to 10 000ft above AfrikaBurn, taken into free fall for 30 seconds… and landed via tandem parachute in the Binnekring…

Email to make your offer - to enter and jump, you must be over 18, under 100kgs, sober and willing! Come join us in the ultimate PLAYground….

Note - Funds raised from the first ever tandem skydive into AfrikaBurn will go towards the Airspace / Aviation Camp and to the very deserving Panthera Africa charity for large cats"




Well hell, look at that - there are kakloads of events popping off in the lead-up to this year's event, and after. Check out these ways to connect with our community and support their projects while having some playtime...

                                                                                                                                          (Happy days in the park - thanks to Liz Blom for this shot of Park Off 2012.)


Keen to meet others who're headed to the dust and find out more about what to expect? Keen to volunteer? Need some ideas on how to participate? Next Tuesday there's the perfect opportunity - it's free, it kicks off in a park in Cape Town and it's called Park Off.

When: Tuesday 21 Mach
Time: 2 – 5pm
Where: Rocklands Park (next to Deerpark Café)
Bring: yourselves, a picnic blanket, something cotton to tie dye (if you're up for that) and a picnic.

More info? Mail or head to the event page on Facebook.





With min dae 'til we head out to the desert and loads to prepare in time for DPW's departure, time's of the essence and weekends are filled with prep for you, and also our crew. One of the key things in progress right now before DPW head off in about 2 weeks are our signs. If you're qualified to get messy with paint, join our Volunteers crew for our second-last volunteer day before gates open in 40 biblical days and nights. Ja? Lekker, here's the detail:

When: This Saturday, 18 March 2017
Time: 9 – 4pm
Where: 6 Nansen St, Obs, Cape Town
Refreshments will be provided.

Facebook event page is here.



You'd have seen their crew on that janky old truck in the dust, cruising and cranking out funky beats - yep, it's the M*A*S*H*E*D Truck crew, and they're looking to give their beloved truck a makeover. To drum up the funds, they're hosting a silent disco down on the beach, featuring the deeply funky Tommy Gun. Keen for sand between your toes and beats between your ears? Bang bang:

When: Sunday, 19 March
Time: 4:30 - 7:30pm
Where: Clifton 3rd, Cape Town

Facebook event page is here.



If you're in the Berlin area (or know anyone who is) by any chance, you could do worse than join the Hauptbahnhof crew for a funraver. Hey, don't knock it, the world needs more clever portmanteau words. Expect the kind of welcoming vibe their crew exudes in spades, and a fair dollop of kick-ass music too.

When: March 17 - 18
Where: Ritter Butzke, Ritterstrasse 26, Berlin

Head to the
Facebook event page here for more.


In eGoli? Keen to connect with others who're prepping for a crazy desert escapade? Well then come all you dusty faithful, and gather at the next Jozi Burning Bar.

When: March 30th
Where: Cafe Mexicho

Check out the
Facebook event page here for more.


Whilst you're able to check out Park Off in Cape Town to connect with our community, there's also another opportunity up in Jozi for those on the highveld. Check out the Meet & Greet Picnic being hosted by a bunch of lekker crew in your area.

When: March 26th 1 - 5pm
Where: Emmarentia Botanical Gardens

Check out the
Facebook event page here.



The people who have delighted you with Jews For Techno, Judy the Yellow Bus, Van Go Gogh Cafe, Breakfast Epiphanies, and the Succulents have got something spectacular up their sleeves: THE MEDIUM TO GOOD ART SHOW! Here's word from them:

"Please join us for a theatrical night of art, class and renegade auctioneering...

When: 1st April,
Where: 12 Camp Str., Cape Town
6pm: Art Show Begins
8pm: Auction Begins
9pm: Dancing (DJs: Jews for Techno, Ma'original, Lee Harvey Oswald)
12pm: Police show up and shut us down

Expect Great Food, Weird Dancing, Good Vibes, and of course to walk away with some fresh and funky Medium to Good Art for your crib. (Cash or Snapscan Accepted). Oh, and bring your own booze." 

Check out their medium to OKish Facebook event page here. 


The wolf train that you know and love - Lobo - is already drooling at the prospect of getting together after we've all returned and dusted our tails off. Clearly, someone's getting all their scooby snacks. It's their Afterburn gig, and it's rammed with vitamin DJ.

When: May 6 - 7
Where: Zip Zap Circus School, Cape Town

Check out the
Facebook event page here for more.



Those dust pirates that brough your ears That Banging Purple Rig last year and much more are at it again, with a completely characteristically corker of a shindig.

When: April 15th
Where: Train Lodge, Cape Town

Check out their
Facebook event page here.


Coming up soon: our very own Pancake People are having a fundraising event to raise funds for cinnamon and sugar and theme camp decor! Clear your timetables, dust off your diaries, and show your support at their super syrupy steampunk party. 

When: 25th March, 2pm
Where: Wolraad St, Cape Town

event page here.


                                                                                                                                (Into the night she slides... thanks to Sean Furlong for this shot of Molly last year)


That amazing illuminated mollusc you saw sliding across the dust last year? Nope, it wasn't a bliksem of a mirage - she very much exists, her name is Molly and her crew are working hard to bring her back with some improvements. To make that happen, they've created some beautiful pendants of that snailish lady herself - and you can find out more about those over on their Facebook group. In other efforts, they're also hosting a cracker of a little jol.

When: 24th March, 7pm to midnight
Where: The Honeybadger, Long St, Cape Town

event page here.




We're listening to:

Pixies live at Brixton Academy 1991
- The Clash 'Straight To Hell (Extended Version)
- Radio. garden
- Radio Free Tankwa (don't forget to BRING AN FM RADIO TO THE DUST)

We're reading:

The Magic Necklace by David Gwynne-Evans on the Binnekring Blog

And thank feck for that - this has got to be a record-breakingly-long Baardskeerder. Writing this sucker is not recommended when you have a medium to good hangover, but there you go (insert cliche about crime & time here).

Before we leave you to get some rest after this marathon, heads up: this year, more than ever, we need many Rangers on the ground to make sure everyone stays safe in the dust. If you've ever wondered what the Rangers do, or have had an inkling to join the ranks of our community mediators,
please head right over to the Ranger Training page on Facebook and check out their upcoming Basic Training sessions in both Jozi and Cape Town.

Travis Lyle
Minister of Very Strong Coffee

Hey! You still there? Hot double-dipped damn, you deserve a medal for endurance. Well done and thanks for reading - and don't forget: this is your newsletter, so send your bits & pieces in by dropping them into our Newsletter Content page.


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