The Baardskeerder - AfrikaBurn's Newsletter - View web version

(The Lamp Clan, designed by Lindsay Cessford and built by Mike Rule and crew, as viewed through the portal of the Temple of Stars, built by Walter Bohmer and the Starlight Collective, as shot by Chris Leggat. Yes, we are indeed quite keen on crediting art and artists in our photos)


Wow. Sometimes - if we're lucky, and if everything falls into place just right - it all comes together beautifully, with all the elements in balance. And this was one of those times. You, and 11 769 other humans, created something beautiful out there this time round. Was it all smooth sailing? Did it save the universe and provide an answer to all humanity's woes and challenges? Let's be honest: any gathering of that many people cannot be all roses and sunshine, and won't save the galaxy in one stroke - but on the whole this year was largely a peach of an experience: smooth and sweet, with a little fuzz around the edges. Did it result in people saying hello to strangers on the street, picking up litter in their hood and generally becoming a better person? We can't be sure that that's the result for every single person that participated in this year's family campfire gathering, but reports from our community thus far are pretty heartwarming - we're aware of quite a few people inspired to get out of their comfort zones and make the world a little better, even if it means starting where they are with what they have. And that's something.

Onward? Damn straight, it's the only way forward...

In this newsletter:

- SURVEY 2019
- LOST & FOUND 2019



When you've been down a deep rabbit hole and had a truly spectacular and unique experience, it makes a lot of sense that on your return to normality, you'd need to exhale and take a deep breath and take stock of just exactly what happened. And that's the purpose of our Decompression - for us to gather and share our experiences of that magic crazy wild and colourful thing that we all created together in the desert.

Just like Tankwa Town, our Decom is a blank canvas that invites you to step up and be the artist, performer and magician. So step right up and get involved - we're calling out for you to bring your colour, creativity and talent along to add to the mix. And just like last year, the Decom will again be held at the Killarney Racetrack, which allows for mutant vehicles, large art, small art, bikes and a whole lot of dusty dancing.

Got ideas and activities that you'd like to contribute? Hit the keys and let our team know so they can field you and find you a space to do your thing: email for content ideas, or if you'd like to bring decor or artworks.

When: 2pm - 2am, June 1st
Where: Killarney Racetrack, Cape Town
What: you, your best Tankwa dress, artworks, music, community, participation, afterglows and sharing
Event page on FB?
Right here, click me.


Just like, well, everything we do the Decom's also a massive exercise in volunteering - so if you don't have an activity or artwork, but you'd still like to step up and get involved, we can suggest offering some of your time to assist our team in various ways by volunteering. 

We have a Volunteer Workday happening at our HQ on May 25th which will see art and signs and many other items prepped ahead of June 1st - and you can find out more on the event page on Facebook, or you could just email

When: 10am - 3pm, Saturday May 25th
Where: Our HQ & yard, 8 Junction Road, Salt River
What: paint, signs, art, chatter, happiness (and lunch & drinks)
Event page?
Find that here.


                                                                                                                         (thanks to u/greengolfballs for this clever pie chart graphic)   

SURVEY 2019 

How fast did most people travel on the R355? And of all the 11 770 humans at our main annual event (yes, that's the number) volunteered in the dust? How many of them were involved in projects, and how many of them are aware of the many social development initiatives and access mechanisms that our organisation has set up that run year-round to increase levels of inclusivity?

The answers to these and many other important questions lie at the end your fingertips - if you punch them into our annual Survey. So hey, you there reading this relatively well-crafted pile of entertaining content, please take the time to fill out our Survey - it's really helpful if we get a wide spread of input and feedback from many people, because it all helps our team and community understand the landscape as far as who's involved in this magical and strange beast called AfrikaBurn, and what they all do (or don't).

Yes? Lekker - click the link below to make the data cascade in beautiful ways that are useful and informative:

Click me now, for I will unveil pristine vistas of data, reveal untold truths and dispel myths uncountable.

                                                                                                                                                                     (Apologies to Jonx Pillemer, and thanks to Jonx Pillemer)


Tribe, Power, Time, Dream, Stof, Mirage, Archetypes, The Trickster, The Gift, X, Play, Working Title, Ephemeropolis... and then came 2020. What will the theme be for next year's main event? Ah - that's up to you and your suggestions, actually.

Some love it, some are not even aware of it, but every year our main event has a theme - and it's a point of engagement or inspiration, a conversational starting point and a guiding light if you'd like some help navigating the experience. Ideally the theme is also engaging, thought-provoking, stimulating and versatile - but it's ultimately up to you, and our annual callout is your opportunity to contribute the idea that you think would set the tone & provide a framework that our community can hang their creativity off.

So - that idea you've had, and that inspired phantom of a concept that rose up to you in the dust - fancy dropping it into our Theme Callout suggestion box, along with some supporting rationale? It can be one word, it can be a phrase - but what it can't be is just a word or phrase: we'd need you to submit some explanatory text to support your suggestion. And this year, we're playing it a little differently (hey, this is an experiment, right?) - meaning that this time round you can:

a) write up a development for the ideas that we've been riffing on: 'The Idea', 'The Experiment', 'The Experience'
b) submit your own theme title and write up the supporting rationale for it

Just note that while we love personal stories, please don't preface your theme suggestion with your particular story (for that, you're welcome to submit a blogpost or story to

Yes? Lekker:

      (There she stood, and there she fell: the gorgeous Lamp Clan, designed by Lindsay Cessford, and built by Mike Rule, Izak Martin, Alex Hart, Dewald Van Tonder, Giecar Jan Barroga, Malachy Lord-Rule, Dale Calder, Chris Denovan, Jule Beam Erasmus, Halen Ray Erasmus, Steve Martin, Yonga Mditshwa, Siyamthembu Mboxa, Andrew Hirson, Johann Schultz, Marco Bertoldi, Thomas Steiner (lighting), Mava Xhishe, Tommy Lee, Ricardo Moses, Mbulelo Siyamile, Snethemba Mgeshulu, Valerie Johnson, Monique Schiess, Britt Stroebel. Thanks to Jonx Pillemer for this amazing shot. Told you we liked credting art and artists.)


Since the first Tankwa Town, our San Clan effigy project has been championed and interpreted by different artists each year, with this creating a diverse range of Clan structures in both expression and experiences through the years. 

We've had spider Clans, robot bunnies, and this year we had a bedside lamp - but we have no idea what our 2020 Clan could look like yet. Have you got any idea? If you do, you're welcome to submit a Clan proposal.

Before you click on and submit your concept,
first read up about our Clan Guidelines, and then draft your proposal. Once you're ready to roll, send your submission to

The outcome will definitely not be predictable and the likelihood of it being anything like other Clans past is very small, but the deadline is very real, and it's the 31st of July, on the stroke of midnight.

For background on the history amnd significance of the Clan effigy,
read up right here.

Shout out to the accidental artist, Lindsay Cessford, who produced the concept and design for this year's Lamp Clan! Well played, Lamplady - and thank you (and Mike and his whole crew) for such a surprising and endearing piece of work. To find out about Lindsay's personal journey from wrestling wild bears in Alaska to herding wildcats in Africa (OK, those aren't really true), check out her blogpost 'The Making Of A Clan'.



Another year, and another vigorous crop of comments on social media - but ah: if the comments drop below the fold on your browser, did they ever really matter? And what, exactly, is the sound of one hand clapping? Is it a slap, or unheard applause? To have discussions about these and other enduring mysteries of the universe important questions important questions about this year's event, we're hosting a post-dust Town Hall - and you and your questions are very much invited to come along and join the conversation.

When: 6:30pm - finish, Friday June 7th
Where: Our HQ, 8 Junction Rd, Salt River, Cape Town
What: you, your opinions & questions, and many others
Event page?
Right here.

Can't make it in person? No worries: we'll again be broadcasting a live video feed from the discussion - watch our event page (link above) for that announcement on the day.



So... you found yourself out there, whilst losing your shit? Yup: that's a familiar tale of woe. But, there's a light at the end of many Lost & Found tunnels - and it's the result of what's largely a considerate community of humans: many, many items are taken to our Lost & Found booth every day of our event, and many, many people are reunited with their lost stuff, to great tears of joy and many happy high-fives.

To find out if your (insert lost item here) is among the bazillion things that Muriel and our other Lost & Found volunteers have been documenting, cataloging and keeping safe, head to
our 2019 Lost & Found group on Facebook.

Don't use Facebook? No problem: email and our team will assist you.


We'd like to thank all of you, very much indeed, for pulling off such a peach of a year. Thank you to the builders of Artworks that slogged it out in the heat, wind and dust. Thank you to the Theme Camp crews that created countless amazing experiences that welcomed community members into their spaces. Thank you also to the builders of Mutant Vehicles that gave so many folks a ride and a smile. Thanks also go out to all the crews that created one-off gatherings and events that provided perfect strangers with ephemeral experiences that can't be repeated (or sometimes even explained). And most of all, a massive THANK YOU to our DPW crew, who are still out there in the Tankwa doing the hard and often unseen or unapplauded work of packing down our city infrastructure and scouring the entire event site to ensure that we really do not leave any trace. We miss you, we love you, and we look forward to seeing you at the Decom!

See you there (don't be boring - come in your best dress).

Travis Lyle
Head of Communications

Hey! Still reading? Great - fancy sparing some time to fill out our Survey? Yes, we know we've asked already, but hey - the more input we get from you, the better we can all understand and improve this thing we all do together. Yes? Fantastic - click this right here and feed us your inputs, thanks.


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