The Baardskeerder - AfrikaBurn's Newsletter - View web version

 (A glimpse of some of the glorious artwork that awaits you in this year's Survival Guide, by Karl Schulschenk)

If you're reading this, there's a pretty good chance you're prepping to head to the desert, a place where nature is particularly red in tooth and claw, a place doesn't treat the unprepared kindly. With just under one month left before our gates open, now's the time to up your game and make the most of the time you have to ensure you're as tooled up as possible so that you not only survive the desert, but can thrive in it.

We have just 27 days until we gather round the Clan!
In this newsletter:

- MAP?

 (On the other side of this threshold, things may never be the same again. Pic: Gita Claassen)

It goes without saying - which, when you think of it, is a pretty odd expression - that you can't get into the event without your ticket. If you hadn't got word yet, the only ways to get tickets at this late stage are now 1) through our STEP programme, 2) by finding someone who can't make it and wants to sell theirs and 3) by applying for Subsidised Tickets, aplications for which close tonight, March 31st.

Need info? It's always on
our Tickets page.

If you're on a project crew bringing a large artwork or a theme camp, and you're fretting that you still haven't heard about how to apply for Early Access Passes*, don't stress: we'll announce info on those soon.

*EA Passes are only provided to crew members of projects that are critical to setting up registered artworks, mutant vehicles, theme camps and those who have signed up for Ranger / Volunteer shifts that happen before gates open on Monday April 24th. 

                                                                    (There she rides: it's 'the Third Lady' mutant in the dust, last year, as shot by Francine Nagata)


Zoom - hear that? Yup: it's the sound of our annual Artwork and Theme Camp registration deadlines zipping by at the speed of sound. And coming at us like a dusty desert dirigible is the last of the year: it's the Mutant Vehicle deadline, and itr's fast approaching. How fast? Fast, as in: MUTANT REGISTRATIONS CLOSE TONIGHT AT MIDNIGHT.

Don't forget: if your Mutant isn't registered before the event, it won't able to ride at the event, because our DMV will ground it, and it'll thus become a stationary artwork. Which would be kak for you, considering all the work you'd have put into it. So less yadda-yadda, more clickety clack: 



                                                                    (In any kinda weather, the orange has got your back: thanks to our Ranger crew for this shot)



What rhymes with danger? Ranger! Damn straight - but to be a Ranger doesn't mean you have had to train as a Special Ops operative or anything like that - no, all you need to be is a decent mensch who likes to do helpful stuff. Stuff like 'Hey, Drunk Guy In The Sun - don't take this the wrong way, but when last did you drink any water? Here you go.' or 'Howzit campers - say, that canister of petrol's quite close to your fire. Can I suggest that you guys move it away, so, you know, nobody dies?' That's the kind of advice Rangers provide - and if that sounds like the kind of altrusim that you're into, you'd make a great Ranger.

Head over to the Rangering page on our site and check out the upcoming training dates - there are still a few happening between now and our date with the dust, in both Cape Town and Jozi.

Wanna read a pretty heartwarming tale about someone who had little idea what Rangers were, and went on to become one?
Head HERE to read about Jezebel's journey of dust and discovery.


Not much does, but here's one: Fire Perimeter Marshal. Say, what? It's simple: to keep humans safe when they're gathered around a (rather large, very hot) burning artwork requires the art and skill of Perimeter crew. If you've trained up as a Ranger in the past, and would like to make sure we don't have add 3rd degree burns to the burn, we'd love to have you sign up as a Perimeter Marshal. Yes? Lekker -
you can sign up for shifts HERE. 

         (HUGE thanks to Natasha Viljoen for her beautiful cover artwork in this year's guide - and apologies for the incorrect credit in our last newsletter)


Your Survival Guide is here! Imigaqo yokuphilo seyifikile! Jou oorlewingsgids is hier! And, as you can see above and might've guessed, it now comes in not one, not two, but three flavours: English, isiXhosa and Afrikaans. Because why? Because we live in eMzantsi, and because radical inclusion means nothing if our culture isn't understandable and accessible. So, whether you're a bright-eyed-and-bushy-tailed newbie, a repeat offender or a grizzled veteran who was building artworks in the desert in 2006 way before anyone else, now's the time to tool up so the desert doesn't kick your ass. As we all know, preparation is the difference between a rough time in the dust and unlocking an amazing experience.

This year's Guide is packed with new info and comes with truly beautiful illustrations by no less than 10 volunteer designers*. Here you go, hit this & enjoy the read:


*Massive shouts go out to everyone involved in contributing illustrations to this year's Survival Guide: Anthea Duce, Ernst Lass, Grace De Koorn, Philippus Johan Schutte, Karl Schulschenk, Matthew Fraser, Mischka Byram, Natasha ViljoenSkubalisto and last but not least, the designer who's contributed illustrations herself and has managed the overall design & layout, Jeanne Fourie.

Also - SIYABULELA to Mava Ntontela, Thembela Zongezile and Craigieji Makhosi for their assistance in helping us realise our dream of getting our Survival Guide translated into isiXhosa! 


  (Thanks to volunteer designer Guillaume Vagrante for his work on this map!)


Oh, you'd like a map with that? Well there you go - head here to download a larger version. If you're part of a project crew and want to see where you'll be living or where your project will be based, sit tight - final WTF Guide map will be out soon.




The desert can be a dangerous place - and even though the number of serious medical incidents in Tankwa Town over the last 11 years have been very low, there have indeed been some. We've had a death on site by natural causes, we've had someone climb a high structure and fall and break major bones, and there have also been many rebar accidents and guy rope mishaps (light them up!). But if something happens to you in the dust, will our medics and community care cluster know who you are, and whether you have any existing medical conditions they should know about if they have to treat you on site?

To help you stay safe in the event of something serious happening to you, we have a Voluntary Medical Info form that you can fill out. Please fill it out - it will make a huge difference if you ever need medical care on site.

Fill out the Voluntary Medical Info form here (or just log into our site and click the relevant option)



In between the gusts of gritty Tankwa dust, in the far distance, you can hear a familiar sound - here, the ting ting ting of rebar going into the ground. There, the cries of joy as another bank of otoilets is placed. Even further out, the Yggdrasil crew are some metres up in the air, furiously building a fucking huge Viking baobab...

We'll have updates on conditions over te next weeks.




Word on this has already gone out to all registered Theme Camps and Artwork and Mutant Vehicle crews - but if you're in a private camp, and have camp infrastructure being delivered by a supplier like stretch tents etc, heads up: as of this year, supplier vehicles are not going to be able to aimlessly drive through our city looking for you. You need to know when your supplier is arriving, and you need to instruct them to meet you at our event gate, at the Supplier Depot.

If you need info on this,
read this info over on the Latest News section of our site.





The Tankwa Town Library is wanting to start a project whereby folks can go around the town collecting autographs from various theme camps. These will take the form of a stamp in a book ,supplied by The Tankwa Library. So if your theme camp wants to join in the fun, please mail and they'll list you as one of the participating camps. If you have a stamp, great! If you need a stamp and have no funds for one but still want to participate, let us know and maybe the Library can make a plan for your camp.


Something rather Vikingish is happening this year! We've got another team doing a Viking project for -  but this one isn't a giant baobab tree topped with a Viking ship, it's a Big Baby Viking, and it's brought to you by the Camp Walhalla team. They've mostly got it sorted, but if you can spare some support, click this link to help them get their Baby to play! For more info mail:


Over at our Off-Centre camp, we plan to have loads of activtyies and performances this year - and our OCC Performance organiser is looking for folks into Bingo/ Twister /  Quizzes or any other kind of games. Are you the Joker , the Game Master or  Bingo Queen? Interested in hosting a game session at OCC stage? Please drop an email to



This one's a call from our Leave No Trace warrior Princess Caralot - here's her request:

We've picked up on the airwaves that loads of you are planning to bring synthetic grass (or astroturf) this year...
Please, don't. Just, don't. The MOOP factor is high with this one. With dust, heat & foot traffic the plastic that it's made out of becomes more brittle as the week goes on, & high winds simply pick up the blades and blow them away.

Ever been in Tankwa Town in the rain? When it rains the clay-ey dirt that makes up the floor becomes muddy and then less than 12 hours after the rain, it becomes ROCK SOLID again, sealing in everything that was under the mud. Wanna know what that looks like? Here's a shot all the way from Black Rock City, post-rain:

                                                                                                                                             (Thanks to J.H. Fearless for this shot of astroturf gone bad)

I think we can all agree it's not pretty - so please, leave the fake grass at home. Shadecloth works well as an underfooter, as do old billboards. Carpets aren't ideal as there are fibres that can escape (if you must use a carpet maybe pop a groundsheet under it?) Here's to keeping the Tankwa pristine!


Over at the fabulous cinema camp that so many of you have enjoyed each year, they've got grand plans to mix up a storm of cocktails - but to make that happen, they're calling out for you right there to bring along a stray bottle of tipple so they can add it to their cabinet of gifted delights.

Got bottle? Get in touch with Janette on or just pop along to their camp on site and drop it off.

                                                                                                                   (Tankwa Town's very own Post Office, Burning Mail, as shot by Jonx Pillemer)


One of the longest-running camps in our humble desert city is Burning Mail, who've sent over 40 000 postcards to every single country in the universe over the past 11 years. OK, OK, that's an exxageration - but they really have sent thousands out - and to make that happen takes a lot of stamps.

If you have some postage stamps lying around, mail or simply head to Burning Mail on site - they'll be really happy you did.


Looking for a way to get to & from the burn? If you didn't know, there's a bus service that's been indepndently-organised for the past few years, and they're rolling again this time round to & from both Jozi and iKapa. Need info? Head to the Bus To The Burn Facebook page, or email


To raise this desert city up, and keep it moving iuntil we're all home safe takes the efforts of a whole army of volunteers - so if you're wondering "Hmmm, hell, I don't have a project to contribute, but I'd really like to help out.", here's your opportunity - there are loads of ways that you can step up and get involved and by giving as little as three hours of your time you can make a big difference. Keen? Grand - check oiut the list of options over on the Participation page of our site, or hit our Volunteer crew up on

                                                                                                                                                                                     (thanks to Braai Bliksem for this shot)

Braai Bliksem over at Rust & Dust hs this to say about their potjie challenge:

Love the sound of the Potjie whisper? Believe that cooking in cast iron is good for the soul? Then this is for you! Dust off your potjie and cook a pot or three with some of the rustiest dustiest desert-cooks this side of the R355. Hell, you might just win AfrikaBurn!
Open to anyone and everyone who loves a bit of epic fire-food (am guessing that's all of you savages).
Bring your own fireplace (a wheel drum works a treat), your pot full of deliciousness, wood or charcoal to keep her going, and enough "gees" to light up the Clan. Judging may be wildly erratic, bribery is encouraged and a little dust only adds to the flavor. One rule: no bowl = no chow.

Where: 2:45ish on Binnekring
When: Thursday noon till sunset
Who: hosted by Rust 'n Dust
Event page is here


Its the last round for signing up to The Flow Arts Commune!

The flow camp is open to international and local burners, whether you're a performer or a kind of humanoid shrub, Flow Arts will welcome you in. Final sign up date is Tuesday 4th April, any submissions after that will need special consideration. If you want a place to teach bad yoga, or a platform for cooking shows involving hats then drop them a mail on to start chatting.

For more info on their camp - which hosts many of the flow artists who perform The Dance Of A Thousand Flames before the Clan goes up - check out their Facebook page here.



Things are taking incredible shape at the mad genius laboratory where this year's Clan is being prepped! The Gentis Clan crew (yep, that's its name is this year) are on the home stretch, but they need some help to stay on track. If you're a DIY freak, are handy with some or all power tools, have a love for welding or just want to be some extra hands-on-person around the workshop, they'd love to have you lend a hand. With one week to go, time's of the essence - if you're able to help, climb aboard and pitch in - you'll be swamped with gratitude.

Any hands on deck can simply head over to Bad machine (10 Old Marine Drive, Foreshore, Cape Town) any day from 9am - 9pm between now and next Sunday.



Andy Wilding - lead on the Organ Player artwork project - is creating a fire-powered organ. Which is, in the context of a burn, completely normal - but his team have lost their chief fabricator, who's had to leave the team to take care of some life stuff. Losing 33% of the workforce is rather daunting, so please let Andy know if you, or someone you know, is just itching to put on a welding helmet and help build one of Tankwa's most unlikely rocket ships ever to emerge from the Lockheed Spunk Works hanger.

If you can help with this - or if you know of a sheet metal works that can roll cones in 2 mm mild steel - give Andy a bell on 079 567 4261 or mail him on


                                                                                                                                                                                    (thanks to PlayaSkool for this shot)


For the first time this year, PlayaSkool - a well-established camp from Black Rock City which hosts talks and discussions - will be in the mix in Tankwa Town! Here's word from one of their crew members, Serkan:

"We have a great little camp of 20-24 people this year, and we'd like to gift a little interactivity in our bedouin tent, for anyone who wants to come to teach anything. Our camp is called PlayaSkool, and we've been at Burning Man for the past 5 years. Our core values revolve around shared experiences and teaching, and we'd like to call out for anyone who wants to teach anything from Yoga to people giving little stand-up or music performances."

Interested in stepping up and using their space to teach or talk? Mail (or head along to 9ish & Ace of Hearts on site)


                                                                                                                                                         (no, nobody will actually be burning any instruments)


Something very, very special is being planned: a 5-piece orchestra, in Tankwa Town, this year. It's no small undertaking, getting a full orchestra and conductor to the desert - but then, is anything about this crazy experiment in the dust easy? Hell, no. We'll have more news on this very soon - look out for the announcements and the link to help crowdfund this amazing project: if it happens, we'll all be listening to an orchestra when the Clan burns!


For the last few months, a crew up in Jozi has been working their behinds off, building the Temple of Gratitude. As with all temples thus far in Tankwa Town, it'll be a place of remembrance and also of thanksgiving. A place to pay your respects to those no longer with us, and a place to acknowledge all that you're thankful for.

But to raise a large Temple takes a large wad of cold hard cash - and you can help their team raise the structure by making a contribution, no matter how humble. Yes? Fabulous - here's where:




For the last few years in the dust, there's been the cutest little cuddly little wolf pup... actually, that's a lie - Lobo's one mean-assed steampunk wolftrain, and he's kicked all manner of ass in the dust. To keep him howling, his crew have got a massive fundraiser planned for just about the time that you finally shake the dust from your hair and are up for a skop. It takes a lot of steam to get this particular punk happening, so support 'em, so that they can do it all over again in 2018!

Just like that moerse Mutant Vehicle itself, it'll feature all the bells and whistles of a killer shindig:

When: May 6th
Where: Zip Zap Circus School, Cape Town
are here
Event page is here


The Underpants Hotel are having a raiser! Here's word from their crew:

You are cordially invited to unburden yourself from the waist down, treat yourself to some fine music and cocktails and partake in an enthralling sundown festivity. Don your finest tighty whities, your superman specials or even grandmas unused xmas gifts. Let our sexy underwear models show you the way to the dancefloor and drinking hole. There will be a prize for most creative use of undergarments, each ticket will be entered in a raffle draw and please drop off any old clothing items that we will donate to Lazeras House shelter. Get ready to party with your pants off, we know you always wanted to. No nudity or pineapples allowed!

Where: ONE UP, Long St, Cape Town
When: Sat, April 22nd 3pm - 12pm

Tickets: R80 Presold (Raffle included) or R90 a the door (No raffle)
Event page is here


Well, maybe not so much the sex part - here's what the Stardust Vagabonds have got to say:

Team Stardust Vagabonds (a collective of friends from Brazil, Germany, Switzerland & US) is bringing modern classical music to the dust! Christian Grosselfinger, a Brazilian-born cellist, is presenting his original music inspired by life’s experiences. Chris uses a looping & sampling technique, which allows him to arrange different musical ideas, making a single cello sound like an orchestra.
Chris will be gifting three concerts:

Thursday: the Theater of Playful Banter 3-4pm
Friday: Camp Pompeii 2017 3-4pm
Saturday: OCC Stage 3-4pm.



Over the last couple months, we've had a bunch of Volunteer days at our workyard slash clubhouse slash industrial art park slash lair of a fine hound named Max - who's pictued on the freshly-painted gate of the same, above - and we're now on the home stretch, with just one more day in the yard. This Saturday we'll be painting, filling cushions and prepping (cigarette) butt plugs. Refreshments and lunch will be provided.

When: 8 April 2017
Where: 6 Nansen str, Obs, Cape Town
Time: 9:30 am – 4 pm
What to bring: Yourselves and some older clothes you don’t mind messing up

Facebook event page is here
RSVP: volunteer@afrikaburn or just pitch up!


In support of the efforts of both the Temple of Gratitude and The Naked Spectrum, there's a fantastic fundraiser happening this weekend in Jozi - it's the Electrum Spectrum Picnic & Party - and you're invited! It'll be a great way to meet people who are, just like you, prepping hard and looking forward to the dust.

Where: Gauteng
When: Tomorrow, April 1

Event page with more info is here



We're looking for a Financial Admin Assistant who's a wizard with numbers and books to assist our Finance Lead. Check out the info and job description over on the Vacancies page of our site.


I'm late, I'm late for a very important date - no time to say hello, goodbye (well, almost - apologies for this newsletter being a dayt late: things are crazy). Look out for one Baardskeerder every week from now until the dust - and good luck with all your plans & preparations!

Travis Lyle
Minister of Deadlines

Hey! You still there? Great - if you'd to listen to a podcast featuring one of the Artsluts talking about what they do in the dust, hit this.


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