The Baardskeerder - AfrikaBurn's Newsletter - View web version

 (Fabulous illustration of Tankwa Town 2018 by Melissa Geyer Grobler)  

Hell, yes. It's incredible what magic is unleashed when all the elements fall into place perfectly and everyone pulls their corner to contribute toward the greater whole. Our new toilets performed superbly - and in the process, by using them properly and keeping them sanitary, we collectively prevented any outbreaks of GI complaints. Job done. The Switcheroo also performed very well: moving large rigs to 2ish and beyond in tandem with the sound switch-off from Monday to Thursday 7 - 11am meant that the Quiet Zone was indeed that, and many intimate, acoustic and delicate sound-based experiences were able to breathe and be appreciated. Job done. Road safety was also much improved - and kudos to you for heeding the advice and treating each other with care beyond the event perimeter. Job done. And, like any self-respecting self-organised community, none of this was down to leaders prescribing who should do what, or when - no, that magical city we all created together for a week out there was the result of thousands of independent working parts all coming together in pursuit of one common goal: to find a better way of being.

Well done, thank you, and congratulations - you did good out there!

In this newsletter:


   (Larry at our Town Hall in 2015, Bijou forge, Cape Town - photo by Simon O'Callaghan)   

All things move toward their end - but for all things, there's also a beginning, and as far as AfrikaBurn, and in turn Burning Man, that beginning was in 1986 on Baker Beach in San Francisco*. There, Larry Harvey and Jerry James and a small posse of their friends erected a wooden man in the name of catharsis and to celebrate the summer solstice. What started there, and moved to Nevada in 1991, led to AfrikaBurn - and along the way, Larry wrote down the simple but important principles that have gone on to inform and guide the entire global burner community. In the early days it was he, and a small core of notable nutters, who basically set the world alight with this wild and wonderful thing called burning.

We're a community without leaders - but as far as elders and their wisdom go, Larry stood head and shoulders amidst us all, providing insights and pointing out markers along the way. We had the pleasure of hosting him at a Town Hall, and at a social gathering at our workyard, in 2015. He was as down to earth as all hell, and had time for everyone. And, in case you wondered what his impressions of our experiment in the dust might have been, he summed it up pretty much as 'You guys are doing it right.'

In a twist of timing, our team got word on the Sunday of our event week that Larry had passed away, after having suffered a stroke some weeks before. We honoured him that night, by requesting a minute's silence at the burn of 'A Fine Balance'. It was a moving and poignant signoff as we all wrapped our week together.

Hamba kahle, Larry, and thank you for setting us all alight. We will always burn the Clan, for you, and for all whose lives this crazy experiment has touched.

*for info on the history of Burning Man, and AfrikaBurn, see
this piece on our blog.

  (Clan 2018 - concept by Simon Dunckley, build by Mike Rule, Oliver Polter, Jason St Blaze Searle, Steve Martin, Ricardo Moses, Andrew Hirson,
   Siyathemba Mboxa, Dumsiani Africa Sithuba, Kei St Blaze Searle, Blue Orion Parfitt, Matthew Abrahams, Gareth Roux, Izac Marten, Yonga Mditshuwa, Sinethemba Mgushelo, Eliot Forest and Duane Walker. Photo: Jonx Pillemer)


We always burn the Clan - and every year, it takes a different shape because... well, because we aren't a corporate-sponsored music festival, and hey, creative license. As with every year, we're calling out for your Clan ideas, concepts and sketches. Got inspiration, and want to take that to the next level? Got an idea of what the Clan could look like in 2019?

Everyone's invited to submit a proposal - and that includes you! But, before you crack on and submit your concept, a couple of pointers:

- first, check out the
San Clan guidelines here to get a sense of the general brief
- then, read up on the history and meaning of the Clan
here on our site
- then, once you've digested that info, mail

The deadline for proposals is July 31st, 2018 - we look forward to seeing what you dream up!



Some love it, some take it on board and use it to inspire and inform their creations - and some are not even aware of it. Yep, it's our theme - every year it's different, and every year we call out for you to provide your input and suggestions. It can be one word, a phrase, or you can elaborate on it in depth if you wish. But whatever you do, don't think dropping one word on a Facebook post will cut the mustard: for a theme to fly, it needs deeper thinking.

Got thoughts? Want to see them take wing?
Head here to read up & submit your theme 2019 suggestions!



As we all dust off and do our humble best to make sense of That Incredible Thing We All Did Out There Together, don't forget to set some costume, decor and desert spirit aside so you can bring it along to this year's Decompression. This time round, we're back at the Killarney Race Track in cape Town, and you know what that means - it means you can bring that bike you pimped so sweetly, and race it! It also means that mutants can come too, because, well, it's a racetrack.

Of course, like everything we do, the Decom's one big collabioration - so you're also invited to come along and add art, decor or performance to the mix. If you need assistance, you'll get it - but if you don't, then you can just rock up and do your thing. Will there be live music, DJ's and a Best Dressed Contest? Of course yes - so step up, dress up and rock up, let's stir up another amazing pot of magic together! 

Got art & perfomance you'd like to contribute?
Click here to fill out the form (or email
Got mutants you'd like to bring? Email
Interested in volunteering? Damn fine, that's the spirit! Check out these options and click what suits you to sign up:

Coat Check
Art Setup
(or just email and our team will field you & your skills & timeframe) 

When: Sat. May 26th, 2pm - 2am
Where: Killarney Race Track, Cape Town
What: you, your desert spirit and our whole family all together again!
Tickets: Kids under 14: FREE! (15 - 17: R100) - General Sale: R200, R250 @ Door

Get 'em here on Quicket.
Event page: right here.

                                                                                                                                   ('Still Life with Magnet Sweep and Tankwa Whiteout' by Billy Stewart)


They're still out there, our DPW family. They've been joined by a small number of willing and able Leave No Trace volunteers, but these last hard yards are tough, always, because as you can see from the image above, it's often the case that the weather shifts and the wind picks up, proper. But they do it, our volunteers, against all odds and faced with numerous challenges - among them muppetry of the highest order in the form of crews and camps that simply dumped stuff on the assumption that 'someone else' would clean it up. Remember: we are that 'someone else', and leaving no trace is all of our concern.

To all on DPW still out there braving the sun, wind (and enjoying the solitude and serenity far from the madding crowds), we send a massive THANK YOU! We look forward to seeing you all soon at the Decom.



We’re thrilled to announce that Burners Without Borders have a grant programme that's just been launched, which is open for YOU to apply for. The programme is committed to jump-starting creative civic projects that grow community while having a positive impact, wherever they are found. Got an idea that you think would uplift and improve people's lives? Step up and make use of the opportunity!

Grant Details:
Applications close June 4th
Grant Awards: $100 - $1,500

To apply,
click here and fill out your application form to make magic happen.

For more info,
head to this page of the BWB website.


We nailed it this year, out there together. Or at least, we got it vefry right on many fronts. But what we do and who we are extends beyond our main desert kumbaya, and there are always more things to discuss as a community. So come, all ye faithful, and gather with us again as we raise issues and voices at our upcoming Town Hall!

Got an item for the eganda, that you feel is a... drumroll... burning issue? Great: mail

Where: Obviouzly Armchair Theatre, Obs, Cape Town
When: Thursday June 21st, 7 - 9pm (but let's be honest: once we get talking, it'll likely run later than that)
What: you, your talking points and a bunch of family
Tickets: yoh. For a Town Hall? Hayibo: it's free, gratis & mahala. 
Event page:
click this right here.


                                                                                                                                                    (Thanks to Julia Savage for this Collexodus queue shot)


You heard about it on Radio Free Tankwa on site, and likely saw our crew prowling the suburbs of Tankwa Town calling out for donations - and if you were smart, you'd have set some of those unopened dry goods & beverages aside as you packed up your camp, and then have donated it as you were pulsed on Exodus at our event gate. Yep: it's Collexodus, and it makes a big difference to the lives of two important groups of people: DPW, who appreciate the support, and also the kids over at Elandsvlei Primary, which is on a neighbouring farm from Tankwa Town. We're happy to say that this time round, it seems ever-more people are aware of the need to not dump rotting food or useless broken camping gear - so this year's collections went smoother than ever. Well done.

Here's word from Nicolette Brynard van Der Merwe, the headmistress of the School:

"Every year, I think we can't get more food from the Burn, and then I'm surprised every year by the abundance of canned food, dry goods, pastas, cereals, boxes of long-life milk (which keep for up to a year!). We are so blessed - I want you to know that for every school child's family, we've put a box together, so everybody has received a bit of the joy. Thank you for the effort you've put into it, and thank you for the way you care for the school and the kids in the Tankwa - and the way you open your hearts and pockets for us."

Well done, folks - the good we all do is extending well beyond our events, and into the lives of many people we haven't ever met. Which sounds about right for who we are and what we do as a community.


This just in from Ranger Minstrel, who is significantly involved in our Green Dot Ranger efforts:

"Thank you, Afrikaburners, for showing an interest in the ways of the Green Dot Ranger, and for taking part in our activities at this year's event. We were pleased to see so many friends from various sound and theme camps at our forums and walkabouts. Thank you for joining us, sharing your stories, and for working to spreaed the message of harm reduction. Special thanks to Rangers who walked a Green Dot shift. Although they were in prime party time, and the hours late and long, know that your presence was felt and very much appreciated. Your work made a difference. Feel free to send us messages at with questions, or for information about what we do."

If you'd like to read up more about who the Green Dots are and what they do, head to
this page of our site, or check in at the Sanctuary & Green Dot Facebook page.


                        (Thanks to Jacqui Woolfson for this shot of our Lost & Found, also known as Just In[e] in memory of our fallen comrade, Justine Butler)


So... you lost your shit out there, whilst finding yourself? Sounds about right. Turns out, we have alot of good humans in our community. And how can one tell? Ah - by the sheer volume (and not to put too fine apoint on it, the quality and price tag too) of items turned in at our Lost & Found booth.

Lost & Found 2018 group is up on Facebook - and it features kakloads of things that you dropped in the dust. About that: do yourself a favour and take a little more care about the things you take out into the dust, will you? You might get twatted on (insert your ingestible of choice, we don't judge) but come now: tie that shit to your body, or discover the joys of carabiners.

Shout out to Muriel Rossi, our indefatigable L&F queen, who's managed the arduous task of logging, photographing and repatriating allll of the many, many things that drop into the dust and are picked up by moop-minded folks). Thank you!



We’re looking for an Operations Assistant, as the fabulous Michele Smith has decided to spread her wings and fly. We wish her very well - but in her place we'll shortly have an Ops Assist-shaped hole we'd like to fill soon.

It's a full-time paid role, and the successful candidate can expect to work closely with our Operations Manager in tackling the many tasks related to our main event, and also Decompression, Streetopia and many of our smaller events that are held throughout the year.

Applications close on May 20th - and if you're interested, you can read more about what the job entails over on the
Vacancies page of our site (which is also where you can find out how to send your application in).



As the flames die down and the memories rise, don't forget that a little while ago, photographer Simon O'Callaghan, who has followed art crews over the years both in Tankwa Town and at Burning Man, published a book titled 'Burn: Into The Flames of Burning Art'. It's a real doozy - and it features about...hmmm, oh, about 400 portraits of you in your dusty best costume and finery over the years 2008 - 2017. A portion of proceeds from the book go towards funding future art in Tankwa Town, so if you'd like something to pore over in the winter months as you stoke your fire and inspiration, we recommend it quite highly.

Find out more on Simon's Facebook page,
right here.

Radio Free Tankwa, of course - you mean, you didn't know it streams all year, 24/7, with a killer playlist and absolutely fokol adverts and loads of great South African tracks? It's true: tuck in on and find out for yourself.

p.s: word from the RFT crew is that they had a fantastic turnout of guest DJ's and hosts - and they archived 99% of the shows. Look out for anannouncement on those being released on their
Soundcloud shortly.

pssst: we're watching...
THIS AMAZING CLIP. Respect to the creators!

Now, not to labour the point but it bears repeating: we really did some amazing work out there, this time round. It was peachy, gorgeous, warm, kind, gentle, considerate, fun, light, happy, smooth and playful - and dare we say, deep and meaningful for a great many people, possibly including yourself right there. And you did that: you, and your smile and warmth and effort. Thank you, and congratulations. Let's do it again next year: same time, same place, same vibe.
Onward (to the Decom!)

Travis Lyle
Head of Communications of a Rather Wondrous Thing

Hey! You're a tropper, thanks for reading 'til all the way down here. So, we have an incredible community, filled with amazing people who get up to all manner of amazing things, out of the goodness of their hearts - but we have to take this opportunity to shower one particular human with love and appreciation. His name is Ronnie, and he also goes by the name Solar Santa. Which, as it sounds, it what he gifts: power, to the people, from the sun. He sent in a spectacular blogpost, and we don't mind sharing that with you here, so you can get his impression of his Very First Burn. Go, Ronnie!


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