The Baardskeerder - AfrikaBurn's Newsletter - View web version


                                                                                                                 (Yep, we were always prepping for the worst. Photo: Jacki Bruniquel, 2014)  


Kaboom. You hear that? Nope, it's not the sound of the traditional anvil being blown, but rather the sound of a whole lot of anticipation and dreaming, collapsing into a smoking heap in the wake of the announcement that our 2020 event will not take place. The reasons that our team had to make that difficult decision have been outlined in our latest statement, which unpacks the realities of how our finances work and what the impact has had on our plan, and the challenges we now face as we look to the future. And - though we, like you, are in the teeth of a strange new reality brought on by the Covid-19 outbreak - it's to the future that our energies are now focused. To Quaggafontein and 2021 and everything that lies between - and also to ways in which our community and organisation can help those who're in need at this time.

So this is not a 'OMG, boohoo!' pity party - nah, ain't nobody got time for that. This is "When the going gets weird, the weird turn it around." And if there's one thing that can be said about our community, it's that its a club composed of some of the finest weirdos on the planet... and you may already be a member...

In this newsletter:



                                                                                 (Though not as soon as we expected, we will all travel That Road again. Photo: Jonx Pillemer)


In case the news didn't reach you via our website, social media channels or across the many media titles that have carried the swak news, our 2020 event is indeed cancelled. It was not an easy decision for us to take, but in light of the coronavirus lockdown measures now in place in South Africa and beyond, it's clear it was the best decision to take. 

We don't know about you, but we're still stunned by this weird new world we're all living in - and in the bigger scheme of things, our event cancellation seems a small matter - but if you're a ticket holder that's wanted some answers, you do deserve to know where your ticket money goes, and how our organisation works.

To understand the challenges we face, and how we're doing everything we can to provide our community with some form of relief, click the link below. To all of you that have expressed support and understanding at this difficult time, thank you, very much. Like you, we're doing everything we can to stay alive and hold on until the sun breaks through the clouds.

Click here to read our Cancellation & Refunds announcement, thanks.

                                                                                                                                                              (Tankwa Town 2017 - photo by Chris Leggatt)


If you're one of the many thousands of people that's been prepping one of the projects that bring the magic of Tankwa Town alive, we feel you. That you've had so much staked on seeing your plans come alive is a blow to you, and everyone else that was looking forward to seeing it in the dust. We get it - and we understand that you might have some questions around what the bloody hell to do now.

Our general suggestion to Collectives with projects is to think of this as a new and extended period in which you could continue working on your project and, once this new normal turns into a kinda sorta predictably normalish normal, consider staging fundraisers as and when that becomes possible. Something else to consider - at a time when personal budgets are nipping - is to re-look at the materials that you're using. Could some elements of your project be made out of recycled materials? And how could your plans be adjusted to be friendlier to the planet? If you were planning to burn your piece, could you create it in a manner that could be disassembled, and the materials donated, and make a difference in the world?

Our 2021 event is now way in the distance, but if you have questions or suggestions about projects, don't forget that you can reach out to your Wrangler. We're all still working, and our team are ready to assist you with whatever they can, including connecting with other art crews around issues like storage or collaboration.


                                                                                                                    (Food donations for Mitchell's Plain residents / photo: Joanie Fredericks)



If you think you're struggling with the isolation blues, consider the challenges that many disadvantaged communities are now facing. That's the reality that's spurred members of our community and team to connect with the many social assistance organisations that have sprung into action since our entire country has been grounded - and among the efforts kicking off and making a difference has been one that our Operations Assistant and Volunteer Lead, Shannon Smith, has championed, in Mitchell's Plain. 

Shannon has connected with Joanie Fredericks from
NEAD Community Development, to bring the principles of Civic Responsibility and Communal Effort alive, assisting Joanie in procuring much-needed food and hand sanitiser donations, which have gone on to make a big difference. She's also wrangled some of our most dedicated community volunteers, who are similarly chipping in and helping out. Result.

To find out more about this initiative, and to learn more about how you can assist or make a donation,
click here.


In 2018, at the free non-profit Streetopia event that our team stages in the hood that's been our home since 2007, we erected two toilet prototypes. They were a great success, and became the same units that you'd now be familiar with in Tankwa Town. Made of 98% recycled materials and using an organic fruit oil mixture that remediates the contents of the toilet tank, those have now been signed off by the City of Cape Town and are a welcome feature in Observatory.

                                                                                                    (Project Dignity crew on the job, in Observatory / photo: Felix Holm, Maker Station)

Since then, and ramped up as a result of the urgencies created by the Covid-19 pandemic, members of our team (including AfrikaBurn co-founder Rob Weinek and DPW members Kristy Derbyshire and Luke Armstrong, above) are rolling out more toilet units in partnership with the Obs Improvement District and Maker Station - and the units have been approved by the City of Cape Town, along with permits for our team to operate and travel as designated Essential Service workers. What's more, the same team have also rolled out sattelite hand-washing stations that are being provided for homeless folks to use, so that they have a way of washing their hands at a time when it's a critical way of keeping yourself safe. That's what you see above.

This initiative is called Project Dignity - and it's doing really great work out there, right now, where it's needed most. And what do you call that? We call that damn fine humans, is what.

For more info Project Dignity,
listen to this radio interview with Rob, and to find out how you can help, head over to our Outreach team's page.


Sure, most of us are in lockdown right now - but that doesn't mean that we can't connect. And for the many music lovers in our community, lockdown's taken performing and listening to new levels - so heads up, here's new on two ways you can enjoy being connected to our community during these strange days that have found us:


It's been our volunteer-run community radio station since 2016, and just like the thing we do in the desert it doesn't feature any headline DJs, brands, adverts or commercial kak. And tomorrow, ShowerQGuy and General Feelgood will again embark on a rollicking ride as they take another TGIF Show live at 6pm.

Turn on and tune in right here 24/7/365.

(and listen in again next week Wednesday, when they stream the signal from our forthcoming online Town Hall at 6pm).



This one - like much else related to what we do - is a community-organised effort, which brings together a vast number of DJ's from many camps that would be familiar to you, if you're a music lover.

The livestream runs next weekend from April 10th to April 12th - and to tune in, check out the event page on Facebook.



As a community, we willingly take ourselves out of our comfort zones, and go beyond to make a difference in the lives of perfect strangers. It's our culture, and it's the way we roll. So at this time, when many of us have spare time on our hands, here's a suggestion: find out how you can assist community relief projects, and step up and show our community's spirit. Another suggestion: those dust masks that you've got stashed away in a dusty box in your garage / attic / shed? Root them out, check that they're clean and unused, and if they are then find a way to donate them to health workers who may be in need of personal protective equipment. They need them right now - and your action can make a difference in halting the spread of the virus that's stopping our world in its tracks. This can be a time when the principles that inform our culture really come alive, so step up and do what you can, where you are.

Stay safe, sane and positive - we may be at a distance from each other right now, but that doesn;t mean we aren't connected.

Love from us, to you, wherever you are.


Who made this?

Publisher, writer, editor: Travis Lyle
Proofreading & general eyes: Tim Doyle
Powered by: coffee, altruism and community spirit


Still reading? Lekker - if you're an artist or photographer, heads up: there's an Innovation Grant programme out there that could help you realise that project you've been dreaming up. Click here to find out more.


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