The Baardskeerder - AfrikaBurn's Newsletter - View web version

 (Once a year a city sprouts from the desert floor, and clever photographers like Duncan Rawlinson shoot at it. And then it disappears.)

If it's February, then the anticipation is building. Will there be a champagne bar? And loads of sexy dancefloors with Major International Headline DJ's? Will there be enough ice for your Vodkatini Picklebacks? Will your feathery war bonnet and face glitter look fabulous on Instagram? Is it too late to book a Double Deluxe Bell Glamper with aircon and sushi chef?

We have no idea, because the answers to all of these questions won't be found in the desert (though you'd probably be able to answer them at your nearest consumer-friendly Major Corporate-Sponsored Music Festival).
Nope: ours is a week-long performance piece the size of a town, that's created, managed and then entirely removed by you. And round about now, it's all about putting the work into 'Working Title_____'.

In this arachnoid newsletter:



Let's keep it short & sweet in this area: if you want a ticket, there are various ways and prices, but in keeping with this year's theme, our suggestion is that you create a Collective, and register a project under it - and then request Direct Distribution Tickets.

If you don't like the sound of contributing to the magic by actually pitching in, well, OK sparkleflake - you might want to consider that Major Corporate-Sponsored Music Festival we mentioned - but if for some reason General Sales tickets are your only option, the next bunfight kicks off on Feb 28th; good luck. If you're an international, there are also Maydays, and those are on sale right now. Kids? Subsidised? Community? Yep - all of those tickets are also available, and as since forever, the info you need can be found on our Tickets page:

Right here, on our website.

                                                                                                                           (Thanks to Jan Verboom for this shot of Camp Vuvu's water setup in 2016)


Your body is up to 60% water, so it's never a good idea to head into the desert anywhere without it. Since 2007 when this dust fandango kicked off here in SA, we've always suggested 5 litres per person per day - and for many people in our community, the current water crisis in the Western Cape has meant that they've been relatively well prepared. 25-litre water containers? Check. Knowledge of greywater systems? Check. Quite happy to miss a bath? Uh...hmmm, yup: check.

But as Day Zero looms closer (and occasionally recedes, depending on the latest data and rainfall), so the need to prepare has become essential. What's more, many members of our community are also asking very important questions about how our desert carnival and their plans for it might be affected. We've been looking it all over for some time - and we have the answers that many people may need as far as how to source, store and transport water in the best - and most ethical - manner. To find out where to get water, when, and how - and what water initiatives are afoot that you can join - there's a handy Waterwise info post on our site.

Right here, on our website, amongst many other things.  

(keep an eye on that page - it's being updated all the time as new info becomes available)

                                                                                                     (Sharp enkosi & dankie to H & Sunshine for these pics of our new Thrones & Pissoirs)


What do we do when we need a new solution? We maak 'n plan and create one. Last year saw our portaloo supplier drop quite a few balls, and of course as you'd know, a Patient Zero brought the delightful norovirus on site and gifted it to numerous people, which caused something of a shitshow for some folk. With that in mind, and also as a means to put a halt to digging holes in the desert (or locating toilets any closer to water courses), we've worked with a sanitation engineer of 20 years' experience to create our own toilet that's designed to cater to high volume and be transportable. 

If you were at Streetopia last year (or Origin Festival this year), you might have come across our new Loos With A View (yes: you will still have your view!) as we trialled them in the wild. We don't mind saying that they held up admirably under some heavy use, and we're now building 192 Throne units, 48 urinal units - and yes, we will indeed have roll-in access units for the lesser able. The units are designed to prevent flies from getting into the toilet, or breeding - and they no longer make use of sawdust, as they contain a mix of organic oils and microbes that keep smell down while kickstarting anaerobic decomposition. All you need to do is leave it as clean as you find it, and not chuck anything into the pot that doesn't come outta your body or off a toilet roll.

Want to know more?
Get all the info here - and hey, if you're creativly inclined, start thinking about how your camp can adopt a toilet and pimp that sucker to make the experience event better! For ideas, check out the Pimp Your Loo group on Facebook.

Read up more on the new toilets on the Binnekring Blog,
on this piece from DPW crew boss H.


                                                                                                                                                      (Thanks to Jonx Pillemer for this eternally relevant photo)


So last year saw a bunch of (very) large camps offer a paid luxury camping experience in Tankwa Town, for a pretty penny. That kicked up all kinds of dust because of course, money should have no meaning in our town, and rinsing a profit is not how we roll. Immediately after our 2017 event, we promised to conduct some forensic investigation - and we did just that. More, we've taken action to ensure that those shambolic havens of entitlement and non-participation don't pop up again. How? By serving the profiteers with notice that they can't register (or run) camps again. Is this the kind of thing we do often, or take lightly? Hell no: in the 12-year history of our event there have been less than 10 people asked to leave, because everyone is welcome (but sometimes, their behaviour is not).

Funnily enough, we haven't seen a single large luxury camp masquerading as an 'interactive' space register so far this time round. Poof - gone with the desert wind? So we hope: we're keeping a close eye on this area because, you know, we'd really like our event to remain a place where the size of your bank account has no meaning. But we'd also like your help: if you meet someone who thinks it's OK to create a camp that profits off others while offering paid staff that clean, cook or set up & strike, please explain to them that's not OK and that there are many other places their money and expectation of service mentality will be very welcome - but Tankwa Town is not that place.


                                                                                                                     (Laaities in Muizies, rocking their water awareness as part of Project Ripple)


Happy days: our Spark Grant recipients are rocking our principles all over eMzantsi! Most prolific recently have been the radical selfies: 

Reliance found its way to the Cape peninsula and Limpopo:
- at Ocean View Cycle Worx, a bicycle workshop was upgraded and a resource centre serving 40-50 youth on a daily
  basis was built & painted.
- At the Mariba Bokamoso Creche Food Garden in Segwashi, raised beds were prepared and planted, a nursery for
  seedlings was built and one staff member completed a permaculture course (well done, Martha!). This means that 35
  kids and 5 staff will be able to chow fresh produce directly from their own garden.

Expression hung on the south peninsula, popping up at:
- the Muizenberg Festival with Project ripple's seemingly spontaneous performance of dance, drama and music involving
  60 kids from Vrygrond and Muizies (with around 100 adults). Their highlight was painting the mural you see above.
- The Masi Creative Hub used therapy techniques to help young people at local creches and clubs in Masiphumelele
  create safe spaces to share and explore community issues, solutions and leadership goals. 80 young people from 4 - 21
  were involved in this process.

You did this. You and your ticket money, and your support of our Outreach initiatives. Well done.



                                                                                                                                                                 (The mighty MiniKring, as shot by Sean Furlong)

With our new Tribe platform, anyone with a Burner Bio is now able to create a Collective for their project crew, and then register any project to their Collective. That includes Mutant Vehicles, Artworks, Theme Camps and Performances - and any project registered gets the chance to request Direct Distribution Tickets. And in case you were under the impression that the term 'project' sounds intimidating and that The Great Thing You Have Planned might not cut the mustard, here's news: your project can be anything from a pop-up navel painting station to a 36-metre ant-fracking spire.


Artworks are never just artworks - and you don't have to be an artist or performer to create art or stage a performance in the dust. All it takes is an idea, and the will to make it happen - go as big or small as you like; the only limit is your means and imagination. And should you burn your piece or not? We don't actually encourage anyone to burn their piece: our Creative team actually suggest that you strongly consider whether your materials can't be dismantled and repurposed elsewhere. Could your wood be used to build a house in an impoverished area? Rather do that, if the material is still in good enough shape: this is Africa after all; what you consider waste material could be very useful to someone in need.

To find out more about burning artworks, and what's involved (tip: a very good motivation is required if you do want to set flame to it), head this way to
our Burning Artwork info page.


Word from our DMV is that they've got cold hard cash to give to Mutant crews, but not many have registered their creations (and thus aren't in a position to apply for a Mutant Vehicle Grant). If you're welding, chopping and mutating, take the time to log into our site, create a Collective and then register your mute. Once that's dusted, you can then click the cryptically-titled 'APPLY FOR A GRANT' button and proceed to request some funding.

Do it,
do it now, and do it sharp before those Grant funds run dry!



There's a lot going on - and a whole bunch of projects taking shape. In case you're looking to join a project, turns out we have a new and handy page designed for just that, and it's called (could you believe it?) Join A Project.

Click this to see & contact projects & camps that are open to new members. Or check out these calls for ways to get involved:


What do you get when a Zimbabwean artist - who's been with us in the dust for many years, working DPW and other areas of action - takes a crack at his own artwork? You get A Fine Balance. It's a growing project that's inspired by the collapse of the Zim currency and the fine balance that the economy faces - and like all things artistic, it requires materials, and materials means cold-hearted cash money.

To support this worthy project,
head over to the crowdfund page and show the art and artist some love.

In the Western Cape? The Meiomar crew are working on an interactive artwork that's going to be a wooden treasure chest that they want to fill with small random items. Got any old jewellery, trinkets or bits & bobs? Dropmnit off at our new HQ (8 Junction Rd, Salt River) and mark that booty 'For Meiomar'. Got any questions? Mail



The steampunk hostesses with mostest are calling out for DJ's to join them in their ever-rocking Saloon. Got great boogie? Bring and come: hit them up on their Facebook page.


Word from Head Librarian Trevor The Very Pink is that their library is on the market for anyone who's keen to take on the reading space that's become very popular the last couple of years. If you're looking for a worthwile project, this could be just the thing. Don't forget that all-important franchise fee: it will cost you in the region of just about approximately fokol.

Mail to get the documentation and lowdown.


Our Airspace crew look after everything that flies above, into or out of Tankwa Town. They do not book flights for you - and they (or we) don't make any money from managing the airstrip. However, they have set up a third-party website that links people who are looking to fly with approved charter companies that don't take the piss (and play by our decommodified rules). You can find Tankwa International right here if that's your gig. They're always looking for aviation-bevok mense that might be keen on volunteering (and you could sign up here for that - or contact

Don't forget: planes are dangerous. Keep your kids away from the propellors. Nobody likes their burn to end in hospital.




Our Volunteer corps are rolling a bunch of invites to prep days in our (new, bigger & better) yard - and you right there are welcome to come along, learn more about the many things we do ahead of April and quite possibly learn or share some skills in the process. The first one is coming up this weekend for those in Cape Town, and it's all about painting, sewing and craft.

When: Sat Feb 10th, 10am
Where: ABHQ, 8 Junction Rd, Salt River, Cape Town
What: signwriting, sewing - and lunch & refreshments

Look out for future volunteer day announces - or click right on over to
our Participation page to read up on the various ways you can plug your skills into this wonderful machine we call AfrikaBurn. Got questions?



The orange phenomenon known as Ranger Bob is back this year - and he's on a mission to drum up a whole new batch of Rangers as he works with our Ranger Council to ramp up numbers (so we're all safe & sound in the temporary autonomous zone). Got people skills? Like keeping people safe from potential dangers? Interested in fire perimeter? trained up as a Ranger in the past, or keen to tool up and join the mighty orange? You'll do nicely.

Head to
the Rangering page of our site to read up and sign up (and see forthcoming dates of Ranger Training happening in CT, JHB and the Garden Route). If you're in those areas, here are contacts that can fill you in about what becoming a ranger entails:
Eden District:
Jozi / Pitoli:

                                                                   (Thanks to Jaqson High Five for this shot of Lakes of Fire exchange candidate Dixon performing at our OCC)


Calling all bands, performers, musicians, nose flautists, slam poets, beat boxers, interpretive dancers and exhibitionists - if you're looking for a stage to perform on, get in touch with our Volunteer crew, who manage the Off-Centre Camp stage schedule. Shoot a mail at and they'll fill you in about what slots are open for you.

                                                                                                                                                                                       (This shot is courtesy of Ann Gadd)


Planning a dusty, but clean, burn this year? Camp Soberland is returning this year - and they're open for new members. It's a safe space, on the outskirts of Tankwa Town, and pretty much self-contained. So if you're looking to stay sober and camp with likeminded folks, and join regular support meetings, contact them on their Facebook group or pop a mail to The camp is also open to anyone who needs to hit a dry zone asap to stay on top of their plans. Need some sobriety tips & tricks? Check out this piece over on Burning Man's site.



This isn't so much a a callout as just a general hell yeah: this year, there'll be a big-ass sound rig banging deep bass vibrations, courtesy of the Reggae Pavilion crew, who'll be hosting DJ's Oli Neu, Dion Dub, The Annette, Birken Sock, Skankin' Bliksem and Sunny Ray. For more info (and if you've got the subsonic dub vibrations to rock their station), contact


The Grannies - aka the Memnoc Collective, who've rocked thendust numerous times - have set sail on a cruise to a Bingo night that'll rock you while raising funds for their 2018 project, The Wet Dream Aquarium! Grab some mates and prepare to win big (well, let's be frank: modestly) over the course of 5 bingo rounds as you support their new puppet & mask performance. Each R200 ticket includes two sunset cruise cocktails and table nibbles, free entry to all bingo games and great entertainment all night. Yes? Done deal: hit this to get in on the action.



There's an all-female art crew building something special this year: The Skeleton Leaf Of Change is a creative act of feminine energy that's purposefully a tribute to Mother Earth. This nurturing energy will weave and form a leaf reduced to its skeletal veined state using wattle, weld, wax and iMphepho, celebrating the land of our ancestors. It's symbolic of growth and change of self and environment, and gifted as a cleansing experience. To raie funds, the crew are hosting a fundraiser this very Sunday - and you can find out more over on their Facebook event page.

To find out more about the crew & their piece, head to their Facebook page.

To contact the Skeleton Leaf crew, mail


Our harm-reduction Sanctuary and Green Dot crews are hosting some dates soon, in Jozi, Pretoria and Cape Town:

Jozi (Feb 10th):
event page on Facebook here
Pitoli (Feb 11th): event page on Facebook here
CT (Feb 20 & 27): event page on Facebook here


Not quite! You know we're always looking for stories, essays and general blog writing content, right? If you've got some words in you, mail us on - we'd be happy to get your thoughts published on our site. If that's not up your alley - hey, writing's hard, and takes loads of time, ask our comms lead - we have a new series of profiles planned that put the spotlight on the movers & shakers, doers and makers who work behind the scenes to make magic happen. If you're on a crew and have a project, and would like to share your progress with our community, why not consider filling out our Dusty Profiles form? It's quick & easy, and will shine some light on who you are, and what you do. Hit this link right here to make that happen - and look out for Dusty Profiles being announced on our channels soon.

Travis Lyle
Minister of Is That Carpal Tunnel Knocking At The Door, Again?

Hey! You still there? Lekker, well played and thanks for reading all the way to down here: if you hadn't yet come across Legume's cartoons of dust experiences, we're happy to introduce you. Click this, and prepare to smile. Enjoy.


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