The Baardskeerder - AfrikaBurn's Newsletter - View web version

 (The 'Triple Bypass' by Charlie Smith & team - the very first artwork built for AfrikaBurn - in action in 2007, shot by Greg Hillyard)

Play. It’s a very human thing to do, right? Right. We’re inquisitive and curious primates, it’s true. You could even say it’s the playfulness of our species that’s been a crucial factor in getting us where we are. Our 2017 theme is ‘Play’ (but you knew that), and round about now there are literally hundreds of crews out there tinkering with all manner of ideas, projects and tools. Innovating. Inventing. Collaborating. Tinkering. Exploring. Playing. Sound familiar? ‘Course it does: that’s how we build a city in the dust.
In this newsletter:


(Die Hek last year, with complimentary laughing hyena as shot by Jonx Pillemer) 

Thunk. Hear that? Uhuh, it’s the sound of thousands of Quicket mails landing in boxes ahead of tomorrow’s ticket sale. Yes, tomorrow. At 12 midday SA time. And yes, it is our last & final General Sale. And yes, you can indeed still buy resold tickets after that. No, you can’t buy 28 tickets for a package tour. No, you can’t even buy 6 for your mates who work in executive level jobs and can’t be bothered to create a Burner Bio. No, it doesn’t matter how rich or busy they are: they still need to knuckle down and do the thing. It’ll prepare them for the desert (where that’s also the case).

Don’t have a Burner Bio, and need info on Tickets? Well now, you’ve left that quite late but if you hustle, there’s still time. Head here.

Remember: Bio registrations close at 10am tomorrow to prevent our systems from freaking out. Also: if you have a Bio and plan on buying tickets tomorrow, activated your Bio by logging in to make sure it works, before 10am mañana.

STEP & Ticketpony Ahoy

STEP is our secure system for ticket resales. If you don’t know anyone to sell tickets to, or anyone to ask to sell you one, STEP is for you. Once the sale ends, STEP will open up for people to resell, or request, tickets. And Ticketpony? It's designed so that you can make a purchase from someone you know, or know through a friend: you connect on Ticketpony, which is where the payment transaction happens, and then the ticket is transferred into your Quicket account. Links to both of these systems will go live on our Tickets page.

Ready? Set? Go get them tickets.


                                                                                                        (There he is, the Hermz, busting a can on the Volunteer booth in 2015. Thanks to H for this shot)

So you get the ticket, and then you head off to the desert, and wow, it's so lekker, how do they build that whole city, yoh. How? Hell, it's built on volunteerism, is how - after all, that's the spirit in which every Theme Camp, Artwork, Mutant Vehicle and Performance project is created: the people behind every aspect of our city are giving of their time to make it all happen, for you. But in return, you should also be doing something. To make it all happen, everyone needs to pull their corner. That's how - and why - it works.

So if you don't have a plan for a project or a gift to contribute, don't stress: you have loads of options to make a contribution. The list of ways that you can volunteer is long and includes everything from doing a Ranger shift, to helping our Art team place artworks and on to stuff like doing a Greeter shift to welcome people home to this magical little massive creative kumbaya. As we grow - and my, how we have grown - it takes more hands on deck to make it all work smoothly.

So step up, step forward and help out -
you can sign up for specific tasks & shifts on this page right here.

Or, if you'd like to just sign up as a general volunteer and get some feedback on what might suit your interests and skills best, head to
this page and fill out the form.



So there you are, full of bright ideas for your camp and project this year, and you're wondering what you're going to be doing for power. Here's the news: go green. Come on, it's a no brainer: the desert provides kakloads of free energy in the form of both sun and wind - all you need to do is up your game and do some investigation. Generators? Yoh, come now, that's no way to treat your mother, nature. Here are some suggestions: 

- solar lighting is great. Set it up, and let it do its thing. One-use batteries are kak - think reuseables.
- solar panels rock, and they can put out some pretty solid power when combined with deep cycle storage
- wind's great too: add it to the mix and you're sorted for sun and cloud

We're doing our bit: last year DPW used a 3KW solar array, and it reduced our usage a bunch. That rig is now in action at our workyard in Cape Town. In 2013, the Fata Morgana crew used a solar rig to weld Lizzie the T-Rex together (which is saying something). This year, we'll be trialling the first bank of composting toilets on site, and we're in the process of a carbon audit. Many camps are now moving away from using generators - because they're fokken heavy, belch kak fumes, devour fuel and make a goddamned racket.

Got plans? Think about how green energy sources can help you meet your needs, and share the info with others. It's time.



“So, this one time, at AfrikaBurn…” Sound familiar? Yep: there must be thousands of great stories that start like that. You've definitely got a couple tucked away inside your pip that you trot out for shits & giggles. That one time you met an astrophysicist from the MeerKAT project and talked about panspermia? The time when you caught a ride on an Tanniesaurus Rex out to The Mighty Bench and chatted about the pros of vegan diets with an advocate dressed as an avocado? That’ll do nicely - we’re looking for your stories, and we’d love to publish them on our blog.

We’re looking for it all: your transformational experience, your simple and humble insights, hard-won Tankwa tips and tricks, horrific car accident war stories, all that. If you need some inspiration, or would liike to check out some of the past posts published, head here:

Read All About It On The Binnekring Blog

Bring and come:




Last year for the first time Radio Free Tankwa* took flight, both online and on site. It was a beautiful thing, too: many people popped into the (tiny, homespun) studio to chat and perform on air. We had a geezer reading William Burroughs in the devil's voice. A trio of musicians on ukelele, a twosome of lovely womxn singing and waxing lyrical about vaginas, and a gaggle of eager kids who thought they'd died and gone to wonderland heaven. The Lighthouse crew even popped in and played a great set. And we're doing it all again, this year - so here it is, one more time, from the top:

But before we hit the dust, heads up: if you have a project of any kind, we'd like to give you and your Public Service Announcements some airtime. All you need to do is prep a short recording for us, and send it in - think of Radio Free Tankwa as your radio station, and a way to inform the citizens of Tankwa Town about what you're up to. And not just at the event, on air - the stream's running 24/7, and will be until April 24th when gates open - so the sooner you get us your clips, the sooner people can start hearing about you.

Need a helpful video on how to create audio clips for your project?
Behold - a very helpful instructional video!

Send your PSA's in to - keep 'em to less than 60 seconds - and don't forget: if you'd like to be on air during the event, mail us and we'll slot you. 

*if you'd like to listen to RFT at anytime, and if you didn't know, it's streaming 24/7 and
you can tune in & turn on right here.




With our city growing to 13 000 this year, it takes the efforts of everyone involved to hold the space, and only together can we hold it right. With that in mind, we're looking to raise the number of Rangers in the mix - because they're our community mediators, they stalk the dust keeping people safe and because anything can happen in a city that's prone to extremes.

So, hear this now - we want you to join the Rangers! If you have a camp, or a project, you should have at least one of your crew trained up to be a Ranger. Hell, even if you're coming with a copuple of mates, or even alone, you should consider it. And here's a little secret: it's a really great way to get to know the layout of Tankwa Town and meet lots of great people. So, if you've ever wanted to become a Ranger, or would like to know more, here are some handy links:

- check out the
Rangering page on our site for info and links to training dates
- head over to the
Ranger Training & info page to connect with the orange.

Thanks to all who've been stepping up - you're rock stars, dust stars and your karma just bumped up a bunch!



How does a whole city of 13 000 people rise from the dust? Collaboration is how - here are some callouts from camps & projects. Help out if you can.

                                                                                                                                                          (Thanks to Heidi Carter for this shot of the post office in the dust) 

Burning Mail Wants Your Shots!

The good folks over at Burning Mail - who have had a Post Office camp in Tankwa Town since 2007 - distributed postcards to 53 countries last year. It's a monumental effort, all powered by fundraising and volunteering. They're back this year - and are calling out for your best shots that bring this year's theme alive:

"We need to select 10 of the very finest images that are in keeping with the "Play" theme, to be used on our 2017 Burning Mail postcards. Please send your gobsmackingly beautiful photos in low res to by the end of February.

Also... anyone wanting to gift stamps to help us get these gobsmackingly beautiful postcards to loved ones, please contact me to arrange collection.

Thank you dankie enkosi!"

Temple of Graitude Video Call

This year's temple is taking shape in Jozi, as a wildly dedicated team of builders and dreamers work their way through the complicated task of putting together the truly magnificent structure you see above. To capture their project, they're  looking for someone that could help them make a video (flim and editing) for their crowdfunding campaign. Got video skills, and interested in joining their project? Mail Meruschka on

Interested in seeing more of the project? Head this way to their site.


                                                                (Cheers to Johnson Chen for this shot of the Naked Spectrum crew at last year's event, in the huge inlflatable nudibranch)


Naked Spectrum - Got Game?

They're the posse of rainbow-painted people, and they're looking for gamers to join their naked rainbow desert artform by partaking in their Rainbow Walk this year.

To find out more and contribute to their project, or join them at fundraising events, head to
their Facebook page.




Yggdrasil, Tree Of Life - Project Exhibition

There's a project taking shape out there that's massive. Huge. Positively enormous. It's the Yggdrasil project, and it takes in both the form of the baobab tree, and the Norse tree of life - and the project crew behind it are holding an exhibition that's an exploration of the concept, as they embark on the build of a massive tree sculpture in the desert. It's also an initiation for artists to investigate the concepts the project involves - and there'll be dance classes & performances by Fishwives, Cal and Lizzie!

In Cape Town? Head to Youngblood Arts & Culture at Beautiful Life on Bree St, tonight, Feb 2nd at 5pm.

Event page on Facebook right here.


Hauptbahnhof Thank You Party

On the off-chance that you’re reading this from Berlin or thereabouts, you’re in for a treat with this next shindig that's being held on Saturday the 18th. It’s being held by the Hauptbahnhof crew - yes, the crew that built THAT amazing train station in the desert - and here’s the word from them:

“In our tradition we are throwing this party to express our love for all those who manage to find ways instead of making excuses. To everyone who prefers to spend time, sweat and tears, rather than to spend money. To everyone who believes in deals made with handshakes, rather than signatures. To everyone with a burning heart. To everyone who believed in a train station in the South African desert. Yes, it happened. Yes, we manifested our dream in the sun going down over the horizon. And your energy is what keeps the fire burning. You are the ones who put trust into strangers without blinking. The ones who keep this spirit that lives deeply in our hearts alive and kicking..."

Berlin and surrounds, come alive and head to this event page to be part of the action.


Bad Mechanics: Rev Your Motor
For years, there have been a posse of dust-hardened machine freaks in the desert. They've been part DPW, part gearbox, part human, part machine. They've fixed innumerable broken down cars, gennies, crankshafts, gearboxes, brakes and and no end of other mechanical emergencies. And waddaya know, they've coagulated into a real camp - and they're now called Bad Mechanics (even though truthfully, they're actually shit-hot mechanics). They'll be located in what's shaping up to be a machine-friendly zone around 6ish on site, next to the DMV and the Infernal Greasemonkeys.

To raise funds so they can offer their service to you when your machine dies on you in Tankwa Town, they've got a great little fundraiser happening
this very Saturday, being held rather fortuitously over at Little Bull's workyard, which is named... Bad Machine. Expect topless bar, cranking tunes, effigy burns, hand-poke tattoos, flamethrowers, hula hoops, raffles and more.

Love machines, and the folks that love them?
Head here to show the Bad Mechanics some love.

For true.

Travis Lyle
Minister of Words, Links and Images

Still reading? Planning to make your own stretch tent this year, perhaps? We're expecting a wet one; check this out


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