The Baardskeerder - AfrikaBurn's Newsletter - View web version

 ('Ulloo' by the Tomcat Collective, shot by Gita Claassen)


What goes up, must come down - but with a little luck, it bounces back up, and a pattern emerges. Hell, if you work it right, it could even be considered a dance. That's the cycle we all repeat with this strange and wonderful thing we do in the desert. We push ourselves hard to create experiences for others, and the reward is that we build ourselves up in some new and interesting ways. For some, it's a (caution: esoterica ahead) potentially transcendental experience. For others, it can take on a simpler meaning: they're able to understand themselves and others a little clearer, and feel lighter for it. It's all about finding the groove. If all goes well, people emerge better for the experience, and go forth into the world to make it a better place. If you're struggling to find your groove, don't stress: remember - we're all in this together.

In this newsletter:

- THEME 2018


Step up, roll up - and get dressed up*! This year's Decom will be a pageant, a carnival and a variety show - and it's one at which you make it happen! What's planned? A more intimate venue than last year which will offer lots of different areas that will be populated by you right there, with the thing you love to do.

When? Where? We'll have the answers to those important questions for you very soon.
If you've got an activity you'd like to bring along, you're welcome to (you know the drill) - but if you need some guidance, mail

Yes you, with the Karoo sky stars in your eyes and rocking that afterglow so fetchingly… got some mojo to spare and feeling full of the gees to bring that Tankwa magic back into the default world? Well here’s your chance: it's time for Decompression. But our small team is, well, compressed. Every year when we get back from the desert we dig deep to pull things together for this regathering. And the truth is, we’re still knee deep in post-Tankwa wrap up and processing, and ankle deep in planning for the new cycle. So, we figured it’s time to get smart and grow some more limbs on this little beauty, by growing a Decompression crew! Could you be one of this crack squad of specialist volunteers? 
If you have experience organising medium-sized events (or want to learn some), we'd like to hear from you - email and we can discuss how you could support this year's event team and see how we knock this little after-gathering together.

*when we say 'get dressed up', we mean it: if you're not dressed up in your best Tankwa finery, you'll be forking out more - but don't forget: all funds raised by our Decoms do after all go towards Outreach.


THEME 2018

Three weeks ago, we put the call out to you for theme submissions for next year's event - and we're happy to report that with the deadline come & gone, there are 70 submissions that have come in. What now? Our Theme Committee sits and mulls them all over, swills them around in their brains and ponders which submission could work wonders for inspiration and creative interpretation.

And when will the chosen theme be announced? Aha - well, if all goes acording to plan, that will happen at the Decom. Even more reason to come along and add your unique flair to the event? You betcha.




We're now a big community, and a large event, and with that comes some reality checks: one of which this year was the news that a fatality occured after our event on the R355, for which funds are being raised via donations. Another is that one of our longstanding artists is faced with a major medical operation which requires support. Here are the updates on both:

                                                                                            (The most dangerous thing about AfrikaBurn: the R355. Thanks to Jonx Pillemer for this shot)


Our team has met with Ainord, who survived the accident in which his friend Tinarwo passed away. He's holding up well, and though traumatised, is thankful for the support our community has shown. We have a knee specialist that is attending to his injury, and trauma counselling has been and will continue to be provided.

To date, over R160 000 has been raised by donations from our community - and our organisation will be making an additional contribution. The funds raised will be placed in trust, and independently managed by three external trustees to ensure they're fairly distributed towards Ainord's recovery and the costs associated with supporting Tinarwo's young daughter. In addition, a Road Accident Fund claim will be lodged, with legal assistance provided by members of The Golden Calf theme camp, and the Tankwa Town Library.


Here's a pretty heartwarming update from Camp Stardust - they challenged all other Theme Camp to make a donation of R200 per member to the fund - and Burning Mail's campmates have stepped up to raise R8,650, which is a great show of support. The challenge is now on for anyone in a Theme Camp to beat or meet their contribution by chipping together to make a difference. Got what it takes? Rise to the challenge, it's a good thing to do.

Here's the link to donate - please show your support to make a difference to those affected by the accident.

                                                                                                                                                              (Thanks to Terence Visagie for the use of this photo)

Last newsletter we mentioned that artist and blacksmith Herman Van Wyk is faced with the amputation of his left foot due to an auto-immune condition. The latest update is that his friends and dust family have raised R47,600 thus far - but in order for his medical bills to be met, more funds are required. To assist with this, his friends are staging an axhibition of his works, which are available for sale.

Show this amazing human (who's been involved in projects such as Lizzie the T-Rex, as well as acted as a mentor for students in the Metal Shop at our workyard) some love -
check out his exhibition here which happens next Wednesday in Cape Town.

Or, if you'd simply like to make a donation to his fund,
click here to head to the donations page.



What, like Fahrenheit 451? Hell, no - not like that. Sure, we like fire, but burning books? Hayibo. Rather, more like 'a book, about burns'. Yep - it's true: in our 11th year, a book has been published that featured a lot of amazing shots of the thing we all do in the dust. But wait - that's not all! Nope: it also covers some Burning Man images too, and it's all the effort of photographer (and member of the Fata Morgana crew) Simon O'Callaghan, who's volunteered as our Photography lead for some years now.

Interested in checking the book out?
Head this way and prepare to be amazed by the beauty of the images.


Yussis, mense, but you lose a lot of kak out there in the dust. In case you were one of those who, whilst finding yourself, lost your shit, here's the news in case it's completely whizzed by without you realising: there's a Lost & Found 2017 page up on that distracting blue thing so many of us use. Head there & browse the photos to see if your dinges is amongst the many things handed in to the Just In(e) lost & found booth at the event.

Click this to be magically transported to the Lost & Found page on Facebook. If you don't partake in the book of faces, then simply mail and our team of volunteers will get back to you with info on your thing(s).  

Massive thanks & merci beaucoup to Muriel, who's headed up this year's retrieval efforts.



There have been a few a shitload of vigorous and important conversations since we all returned from the desert, which is kinda traditional with this thing we all do together. To provide some feedback, and get some, we're hosting another Town Hall this very Saturday - and you're invited! On the agenda: plague, Plug & Play camps, sound and more. Got an opinion? Got questions? Bring them all along on Saturday, they're all welcome. 

Venue? Here's the catch: if it rains (and we really hope it does, considering the drought we're experiencing in the Cape) then it will be held at the Armchair Theatre in Obs, from 4pm. If it doesn't rain (and there's a chance that may happen, it being a drought) then we'll host it in the old amphitheatre on the roof of the Bijou, also in Obs. 

Can't make it? No problem -
Radio Free Tankwa will be broadcasting the discussion on 

Check out the Facebook event page for more info here.

If you're in Jozi, and you like this kind of thing, don't forget that there's a Burner Summit happening on June 10th in your area. More info about that can be found here.    


This year in the dust, there was a camp that fixed engines, machines, cars and Mutants as a gift to the community. They're the Bad Mechanics - which is a bit of a misnomer, considering they're kinda good at it - and over the course of this year's event, they fixed something like 60 vehicles and got them going again. All of which takes some elbow grease - and whole lotta spares and equipment. To help these machine-mad nutters stay the course and keep doing what they do, they're hosting a fundraiser this Saturday night in Cape Town.

Show these badass mechanics some love -
check out their event page on Facebook, and join them for a night of great tunes and general mad machine love. 



There's always a gush of great reflections each year when everyone returns from the dust - and this year's no different. Adding to the mix of insights and highlights is a fresh blogpost on our site from Bohemian Doctor, who, it turns out, went to Tankwa Town for the first time this year.

Read all about her experience right here - and, if you've got a blogpost in you, maybe think about sending it in to us? Yes? Grand - mail it to

Thanks to Ida Idaa for stepping up and offering her skills to wrangle our blog. Welcome, Ida!

True story - it actually is.


Travis Lyle
(insert witty title here)

Watch this - it's beautiful! 


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