The Baardskeerder - AfrikaBurn's Newsletter - View web version

 (Sunset over the Hauptbahnhof, by Sina Niemeyer)

Deck the halls with boughs of holly? Nah: deck them with fever tree branches. Deck them with everlastings, and deck them with strelitzias. Don't deck them with plastic fokken reindeer made in a land far far away. Because why? Because there are no reindeer on the plains of Afrika, and 'disposable' plastic landfill only goes on to choke the heck out of life large and small down the line; that's not how you leave no trace, and it's not how we roll. Get creative, get inventive and turn things on their head. Ring a bell for the Church of Stop Shopping and convince your fellow humans not to deck their halls with piles of folly. Why? Because that's the spirit in which this thing we do was created: creative interventions and thought-provoking inventions. In other words, don't pay: play.
In this newsletter:


(This? Oh, it's just Zebulon Dread chilling at a public piano. Pic - and piano - by Edwin Angless) 

Wow. Yussis. Jinne. My magtig (said the dominee), hoe pragtig. We did it again - or at least: you did it again! You came, you brought your art and your instruments, and you filled the streets of Obs in Cape Town with great and positive vibes. Three stages bumped out a wildly eclectic range of music, residents and artists brought their craft to the market, kids ran amok in the open spaces - and Obs was filled with a great mix of colour and culture. Free? Yep. Limitations? Fokol: just like our desert experiment, anyone was invited to Do Their Thing - and do it they did, in their droves.

Massed chess tournaments. Robotics displays. Mutant Vehicles. Makers, doers and marching bands from Masiphumelele, Khayelitsha and beyond. Capoeira and martial arts displays. Stalls selling subversive literature and socially conscious art. Trash Cabaret and their amazing troupe of acrobats. Zebulon Dread even showed up and sold some copies of Hei Voetsek. The LGBTI community and a bunch of NGO's and CSO's held court and discussions at the Village Green. Tannies danced with dreadlocked drummers and young cats taught some ballies how to cut a rug, proper. And at the end of the day, our Leave No Trace crew bust a nut and left the entire area cleaner than they found it. Result.

To the volunteers and residents that stepped up to offer their time and skills to man the many tasks that made our second Streetopia possible, a massive THANK YOU! The event seems to be building a great base of participations from residents of not just Obs but also Salt River, Woodstock and surrounds - and we look forward to it going from strength to strength as a community-based carnival of culture that extends an invite to everyone. 

For more photos of the day's action and activities, head to the
Streetopia 2016 event page on Facebook.



The thing we do in the desert? It's not a party. It's not a nightclub, and it's not an opportunity to buy kak you'll only throw away after. It's a moerse maker carnival - and the maker part is the key: our entire city is built by and filled with hundreds of projects. And round about now, there are loads of crews building something that's expressly designed to be enjoyed by others, just for the joy of sharing it. Here's the data on how many projects are registered already:

Artworks: 69
Mutant Vehicles: 60
Performances: 12
Theme Camps: 83

And our event is still 5 months away? Impressive. So - if you have a project - bust a move and register that sucker: if you do, it gets listed in our WTF Guide, and our various teams can assist you with placement on site, technical advice and suggestions on how best to source materials without destroying your bank balance - or your planet. Registration, and advice, is free, gratis and mahala.

Need info on how to register a project? Here's where you'll find it:


(Here's the Limitless Slip Dome that brought so many folks a whole lot of joy in the dust this year. Pic by Jonx Pillemer)


Can you speak Raspberry Pi? Are you qualified to drive an Arduino? Listen up: every year in the dust, we're blown away by the sheer level of innovation on show - and this is an aspect of our event that's growing in leaps and bounds every year. To support this, we have some great news from our ICT crew:

Mesh Network
Ever imagined the epic creations that could be built if you could hook your project up to a wireless network? To explore the possibilities, we're putting together a basic wireless network across the burn that all tech projects can hook up to. This is not an internet project - it's not wi-fi and it won't enable anyone to browse bliksemse Facebox or post selfies to Instawhatnot - this will be a local mesh, with it all contained within our dusty home.

Got a project you want to connect or got a brilliant idea on how to pull it off? is looking forward to hearing from you.
App Developers
Love our app? Or do you have some madly creative and original ideas that you would like to turn in to an awesome AfrikaBurn app? We're putting together an open platform for apps to connect to and now we want to put a team together to help us build an open source AfrikaBurn app(s).
Keen to get involved, or lead the project? Send a mail to

(no, we're not sure what the neon thing in front of Subterrafuge is either: but you can clearly see it. Shot by Sean Furlong, 2014)

As the dusk settles into night in the desert, the lightshow starts: Mutant Vehicles prowl, lasers beam out, and a myriad of well-lit bikes and people in all kinds of costumes move around. But in between them, bumbling around and presenting a very real danger to anything else that's moving around, are The Darktards. "WTF is a Darktard?" you say - well, as their name clearly suggests, they're people either on bikes or on foot that have zero lighting on them, which makes them pretty much invisible to everyone else. And invisible means dangerous, in a busy desert city at night.

So hear this now: our Department of Mutant Vehicles is on a mission to make sure that incidents of Mutants bumping into people or bikes (or even people on bikes) are reduced to the absolute minimum. If you're navigating this festive season's annual orgy of consumerism and find yourself browsing things that blink and light up, perhaps spend some time considering the best options for lighting yourself, and your bike, at next year's event. Do yourself (and our planet) a favour: try and find solar options that are durable, and reusable. Don't buy one-use cheap-ass kak that will break or go on the fritz, and inevitably be thrown away. 

And, if you do find good & durable options, perhaps buy a spare for that one mate who's kinda lovely but pretty useless and always wanders around as dark as Darth Vader's cloak. DMV will thank you (and so will our medics, who end up handling a fair few folks who've crashed into something or someone in the dark). 




It's summer - and summer means fundraisers pop up with greater frequency. If you've got time on your hands, show the project crews that are staging fundraisers some love.



Skaduwee are the crew that, for many years, have gifted a vast canopy of that most valuable thing in the desert: shade. They've got a raiser happening soon in Jozi, and in keeping with the great selection of music they offer under their massive red stretch of shade, they;ve got a kick-ass lineup that includes Seth Schwarz.

When: Friday Jan 27th, 6pm - 2am
Where: The Sound Room, Midrand, Gauteng
get the info here

Check out the Facebook event page here.


They're the crew that's brought a rollicking rocker truck to the dust since Tankwa Town was just a small gathering. Yep - it's the M*A*S*H*E*D crew - and they're hosting a silent disco fundraiser this very Saturday. On a beach. Because it's summer. Check it out if you're in the area!

When: Saturday Dec 10th, 5pm - 8pm
Where: Camps Bay Beach
get the info here

Chrck out the event page here.


And, if you're in the Obs area thsi evening and hadn't heard the news: the very first cape Town Burning Bar kicks off tonight, at A Touch Of Madness. Expect dust lovers, chatting about rebar, projects (and how to find durable, reusable solar lights).

When: tonight, 6pm - 11pm
Where: A Touch Of Madness, 12 Nuttall Rd, Obs, Cape Town
Tickets: are unnecessary (because it's free)

Event page? More info?
Right here.



In this 11th year since a little dusty gathering kicked off in a remote desertish corner of our country, it turns out there are firm plans afoot for the very first book on AfrikaBurn! It's the brainchild of Simon O'Callaghan, who many of you might know as Ringflash Guy (and to photo & video crews as our Photography lead), and it will feature a whole bunch of portraits taken over the years 2010 - 2016, among many other things. 

In order to publish, Simon needs to have every person featured provide an OK, in line with our media guidelines and the general concept of consent. So, if you remember being shot by a guy with a blinding flash and an equally blinding smile, here's your chance to ID yourself & OK the shot for inclusion - or not, if that's how you want to play it.


If you're not on Facebook, but would like to check that you might be featured or want to OK your shot with Simon, mail him on

Thanks to everyone who's helped ID folks so far - we look forward to seeing this project take flight!



Yep - nothing to see here, move along! (and good luck out there navigating the perils of the season: stay safe in the aisles and on the roads).
Onward to 2017!

Travis Lyle
Keyboard Jockey


Meanwhile, on the other side of the planet, the Gerlach Regional has just announced its theme for 2017...


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