The Baardskeerder - AfrikaBurn's Newsletter - View web version

(This year's Burning Man - 'Step Forward' by Miguel Angel Martin Bordera and Carros de Foc - photo with thanks to Flint Hahn)

On the other side of the planet, the big thing in the desert just wound down - and around 70 000 people are in the post-dust state that you're so familiar with. Fatigue, inspiration, exhaustion, million-yard stares and a large pile of dusty shit that's begging to be cleaned sorted and packed away? Uhuh, yep, sounds about right. If you’ve just returned from the Black Rock Desert, good luck decompressing - we hope you experienced everything you needed to, and more.

For us down here, we’re pretty much at the midpoint of our year - and that means that behind the scenes our teams have been hacking their way through reams of text and code, preparing registration forms and getting everything ready for you right there to launch your dreams and schemes. Got plans for Tankwa Town in 2018? Hell, don’t we all. ‘Just a jol in the desert?’ Like hell - it takes a lot of work to make it all happen, and that work starts now.

Ready? Let's roll.
In this newsletter:
- THEME 2018

THEME 2018 


Last year, the theme was ‘Play’ - and it coughed up a lot of amazing concepts, projects and experiences. In the same vein that 2014’s ‘Trickster’ theme informed a lot of mischief and was followed by ‘The Gift’ (which in its own way created a gentler experience), in 2018 our event theme is: 

“Working Title_______________” 

And by work, we mean it: but that wouldn’t be a surprise for you if you’ve ever built a Theme Camp, Artwork or Mutant Vehicle - after all, it’s true to say that Tankwa Town is in fact built by the hard work of everyone who crosses the threshold into the temporary autonomous zone and paints the blank canvas with the creativity that it invites. 

Is the choice of theme intentionally to remind everyone that there’s no room for package tours to Tankwa Town, or for that matter, tourists? Is our team presenting our community with a theme that intentionally frames Tankwa Town as a place where Plug & Play camps that make a profit (and enable some folks to do no work at all) can’t happen? No, never, OK, maybe, definitely. We're a self-service culture: choose your conclusion. 

Read up about the 2018 theme right here.

We'll also be running a series on the Binnekring Blog with the purpose of unpacking and exploring what the theme means, for you, for us, and for everyone in between. You can check out the first in that series here. 

A big thank you to everyone involved in the Theme Team this year. 

 (Some of the original planning for The Mighty Megalodon by James Robinson.) 


No matter whether you’ve got a working title or a work in progress, this news applies to you: if your're planning to bring an Artwork, a Theme Camp or a Performance to the dust next year, registrations are OPEN!

And Creative Grants? Yep - they’re open too. Just remember: if you want to apply for a Creative Grant, you’ll need to register the project first. Don’t forget: Theme Camps aren’t able to be funded via Grants - they’re for Artworks and Performances.

And Mutant Vehicles? They’re able to apply for a Mutant Vehicle Grant (and registrations of MV’s and their Grants open later).

You've got to kick off this process by creating your project crew (or Collective, as it's now termed), and then by filling out your registrations - which you can do right here.  Remember every year there's a challenge or two, so if you're struggling, pop an email to the support team at


 (The 11 Guiding Principles - photo thanks to Zac Cirivello) 



Speaking of grants, here’s news on another way in which your ticket money goes on to do good things in the world: Spark Grants. They were awarded 5 weeks ago, to a wide range of recipients whose projects were designed to make a positive difference in their community (or in someone else’s community).

Some of the projects have immediately kicked into full swing and are already making waves:
  • The Retsogile Permaculture Education & Training Trust has been hard at work in a little creche garden in Segwashi, making full use of their Spark funding, as you can see here
  • The Bergie Bag Project has launched into its annual collection phase - and you can help too
  • Mfundo Hashe and his Hot Box Theatre Company, are taking their 'I'm Not Yet Born' play on tour to Tsomo and Cofimvaba in the Eastern Cape
  • Project Ripple, based in Muizenberg, is planning their next round of pop-up and informal performances and shows - like their page here (photo below by Tina Hsu is of last year's Project Ripple taking to the streets of Muizenberg)


Spark Grantees are in prep for this year's Muizenberg Festival*, at which Project Ripple will be participating under the theme of 'Celebrating Water', from 1-15 Oct.

We'll have more Spark updates as we receive more info, but in the meantime,
check out all the awarded projects on our Outreach News page.

*The Muizies Festival is looking for support and assistance - just like Streetopia and Open Streets, it takes the efforts of a dedicated few volunteers to make it happen for the many. Got support or time? Check out their raiser here.


                                                                                                                                                                                                  (Lower Main Road during Streetopia 2016 - photo from Jonx Pillemer)


Once a year, a bunch of crazies gather to create a space where anything’s possible and everyone’s invited. Sound familiar? Uhuh - only we’re not talking about the thing we all do in the Tankwa. Nope: we’re talking Streetopia!

Yes folks, it’s on again for the 3rd time (damn, how time flies) and you right there are, as always, invited. Fancy setting up an info stall and tearing strips off capitalism? Perhaps hosting a discussion on the finer points of how binary gender is an outdated concept? Maybe you’ve got a wind-powered kinetic musical instrument you’d like to display? All bets are off, and all things are possible when our community teams up with the residents of Obs to reclaim the streets* for one beautiful day in the summer sun. 

Read more - and find forms & links that will enable you to submit your plans for participation or support - over on the Streetopia website.

Thanks to everyone - artists, performers, musicians, traders, exhibitors, activists and residents - that made last year’s event such a success. We look forward to seeing you all again!

*speaking of reclaining the streets - if you're in Cape Town, are you aware that
Open Streets is happening on Oct 1st, and will stretch from the Grand Parade all the way to Obs? True story - the streets will be wide open, and they're waiting for you and the thing you love to do. Get up, get inspired and get out there.


  (Plans of Clans past - photo by Papa Deadly)

You there, reading this, could in fact be the designer (or builder) of next year’s Clan effigy. Got a genius plan that will blow minds wide open? Got a dream in your head that could be described in a sketch or render? The submissions window is still open - but it closes on 30th September - so get thinking, dreaming, planning, designing and clicking.

  (This eclectic collage of some of the Theme Camps in 2017 by Sonica Kirsten)



In preparation for the upcoming flurry of project registrations, we're looking to bring some fresh, delicious and inspired energy into our Theme Camp Committee. These important volunteers help with all things Theme Camp, but it's a big job (because our city now features kakloads of Theme Camps).

With this in mind, they've decided to split the team into two parts: There'll be the Camp Wranglers who are year-round participants and have already done the brave duty of managing a Theme Camp, and there'll also be on-site Inspection volunteers who will get to know Tankwa Town really well. 

Want to know more about the Theme Camp Committee? In their own words:

"We're passionate, involved, creative, responsive. This committee is definitely the most fun committee to be in! Snacks and wine or beer are totally allowed at the meetings as long as someone keeps minutes. We make the map, we watch the town as it comes alive, and we keep it fun."

Interested? Lekker - get involved by shooting a mail at


So there you are, twiddling your mental thumbs, thinking 'Hmmm, this sounds like something I could tackle - I wonder if they have a position that's...oh." Yep, we do, and it's the mighty role of Theme Camp Co-ordinator. Which is no small task: it's equal parts urban planning and freak wrangling, with more than a hefty dash of jigsaw puzzle skills tipped in.

Sound good? Get more info about this role, and how you can apply, over on
our Vacancies page.


(The Man, during its burn, at this year's Gerlach Regional)


As you've likely heard, there was a tragic incident during the main burn at Burning Man this year. Our hearts go out to the Burning Man community, the fire perimeter and EMS teams on hand, and the family and friends of the young man who lost his life on the Saturday night. We offer our support, love and thoughts to everyone affected by this incident. Take care of each other, take time to connect, and don't hesitate to reach out if you need to talk. 

The official statement from Burning Man can be found here. 


                                                                                                                                                                                    (Thanks to Jade Holing for this shot)


As occasionally happens, one of our core team members is shuffling off to greener pastures. She's the fearless Sonica, who in her time has hunted MOOP as our LNT lead, kicked ass as a Theme Camp Wrangler and also driven more than a few paintbrushes (and nailed a few camp signs) in her time on our Signage and Demarcation teams. Though she'll still be applying her (significant) skills to Theme Camps in Tankwa Town, We wish her very well in her fertile new pasture and know she'll go on to kick ass wherever she chooses to apply herself.

Thanks Dolphin Girl, you rock!



Check it, we're done here, but that doesn't mean you are. Start planning your plans and getting grafting - there's only 224 days left until we burn the Clan. That's not as much time as it feels like, so get busy - and while you're at it, don't forget to let us know what you're up to. 
This newsletter was a combined effort brought to you by both:
Travis Lyle 
Minister of Jetlag
The Tim Doyle 
Deputy Minister of Holding the Fort


Still reading? Yussis, don't those eyes get tired? Give them a rest, and give your ears some exercise with this carefully curated AfrikaBurn 2017 playlist - with thanks to none other than the Rockstar Librarian.  Enjoy


Google+ Facebook Twitter Email


AfrikaBurn • P.O.Box 191, Observatory, Cape Town, 7925 • South Africa •   Unsubscribe here