I have always wanted to go to Afrikaburn since I first heard of the festival. This year was a first for me and it was absolutely incredible. A must for any one looking for adventure in a magical playground.
What is Afrikaburn?
Afrikaburn is a festival based on the American counter part Burning Man (give it a google). It takes place in Tankwa Town, on the border of the Tanka National Park in the Karoo (desert), South Africa. The participant’s/festival goers build camps, art, mutant vehicles and preform to create a magical carnival for seven days. The festival goers are the preformers as you participate and interact with the artworks which you, the performer create.
Each year has a theme, this year marked the 10th anniversary of the festival and the theme was “x” derived from the roman numeral 10. In mathematics “x” is the unknown. It holds mystery as one unlocks the understanding and common denominator as to what “x” may be. “x” is powerful it marks the spot, it indicates a vote, anonymity as one understands their unknown identity and symbolises a cross road. It has influence.
As I played in the desert which symbolised the power of “x” I began to realise the power of “x” and how this concept manifested throughout the desert.
My experience of this fantasy land took on this unknown as it was a new experience in which I had to solve for “x”. A place of self realisation about life and the society in which we live. A place of reflection and radical self expression. At Afrikaburn you can be anything you want to be.
Afrikaburn is based on a few ground rules:
- Communal effort – be a team player, we cannot make it in this life on our own
- Participation – the more you interact the more the festival awakens
- Leave no trace – leaving no physical trace of activities
- Radical self reliance – to rely on yourself always, you got this!
- Radical self expression – this is a place where you can be you and I can be me
- Gifting – sharing love doesn’t cost a thing
- Each one teach one – there is power in knowledge and we all know a little something
It is unlike any festival I have ever been too and no matter how hard you prepare or try to understand you never will, until you go. People of all ages are found in this carnival from a one year old to 60 something, I met people of all ages. On one of my adventures out I chatted to a child named Callum and he claimed “I love Afrikaburn more than Christmas”. No matter the age this place can be enjoyed by anyone. Its what you make of it.
The spirit of love and affection is channelled through all participants as you share in the communal effort of gifting and teaching. All things are possible in this life and in this place. What’s important is to realise the power of the human being in all its forms and to re-act to this power in a responsible way. We have been given a gift and its how we use our gift which counts.
The artworks are made each year out of love and devotion, those making artworks arrive in the desert weeks before to construct works of wonder which later are burnt in celebration. One that stood out to me was a wooden lotus flower which had petals where one could write something which they wanted to get burnt and let go into the universe. The petals had themes, love, forgiveness, sadness, you would write your message on the relevant theme petal. This work was later burnt in a silent burn where no one could speak and no music would be played through out the festival. A deep moment for those letting go.
There are so many artworks to speak of but I wont as it it will never be enough. You will have to go to the desert and see for yourself. Its a journey everyone needs to go on.
Peace. Love. Unity.
Thank you to my dearest friends, Vanessa Costalonga and Emma Stewart for lending me some of your pics.