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AfrikaBurn Logo
Begins 23 April 2018
Ends 29 April 2018
Venue Tankwa Town
Location(s) Western Cape, South Africa
Years active 11
Inaugurated 2007
Attendance 13,000

AfrikaBurn is a regional Burning Man event held in Western Cape Provicnce, South Africa since 2007. It is an experiment in temporary community and artistic expression, and is guided by ten main principles, including radical inclusion, gifting and radical self-reliance. The event occurs around April each year over a period of seven days. The event location is on privately owned land adjacent to the Tankwa Karoo National Park. The highlight of the event each year is the burning of San Can.

Vision and Organization

AKB bijoubulding.jpg
ABK Workshop.jpg

Africa Burns Creative Projects (AfrikaBurn) was created in 2007 as a not-for-profit company, with the intention that it would serve as a vehicle for the creation and co-ordination of an independent South African Burning Man regional event. AfrikaBurn was originally conceived by Paul Jorgensen. The company's founding members were Richard Bowsher, Paul Jorgensen, Monique Schiess, Mike 't Sas-Rolfes, Liane Visser and Robert Weinek. The company's initial directors were Paul Jorgenson, Monique Schiess, Michael 't Sas-Rolfes, Liane Visser & Robert Weinek.

The Company Memorandum of Incorporation states that the objects of the Company is

  • Broadly, to advance a culture of creativity, which promotes humanitarian and environmental concern through radical creative ventures and artistic expression, involving voluntary communal effort and skills exchanges.
  • Specifically, to produce and own the annual 'AfrikaBurn' event, observing the official event guidelines and ten principles of the US-based Burning Man organization and its affiliates.
  • In the furtherance of the organization's broader objective, and should there be sufficient funds to do so, to undertake side events and projects connected with the main object, to grow the culture and inspire artistic creativity amongst both the global AfrikaBurn community and previously disadvantaged communities within South Africa.
  • AfrikaBurn seeks to be guided by its local interpretation of the the ten Burning Man guiding principles...

Membership of the AfrikaBurn organization is open to people with an interest in or a professional association with the organization, evidenced by their attendance at three AfrikaBurn events and two of these being amongst the three most recent Burns. Application is by submitting an written expression of interest at least two months prior to the AGM, accompanied by a supporting letter from a person significantly associated with AfrikaBurn. The application is subject to a vote by existing members. There are no membership fees. The Annual General Meeting of the AfrikaBurn organization is held in October each year. Further details relating to the organization, including financial statements are available at the AfrikaBurn website].

AfrikaBurn has an office and community space in the Bijou Buildng, a former Cinema now art gallery and creative space located at 178 Lower Main Road, Cape Town. AfrikaBurn also has a large workyard located at 6 Nansen Street Cape Town.

AfrikaBurn Culture

AfrikaBurn is a community of participants guided by a set of principles. They’re the same set of ideals that guide and inform Burning Man (of which AfrikaBurn is a regional event) with the addition in 2014 of a new one – Each One Teach One – that encourages the sharing of knowledge.

  • Radical Inclusion: Anyone may be a part of AfrikaBurn. We welcome and respect the stranger. No prerequisites exist for participation in our community. This means that anyone can partake.
  • Gifting: We are devoted to acts of gift giving. The value of a gift is unconditional. Gifting does not contemplate a return or an exchange for something of equal value.
  • Deccommodificanion: In order to preserve the spirit of gifting, our community seeks to create social environments that are unmediated by commercial sponsorships, transactions, or advertising. We stand ready to protect our culture from such exploitation. We resist the substitution of consumption for participatory experience.
  • Radical Self Reliance: AfrikaBurn encourages the individual to discover, exercise and rely on his or her inner resources.
  • Radical Self Expression: Radical self-expression arises from the unique gifts of the individual. No one other than the individual or a collaborating group can determine its content. It is offered as a gift to others. In this spirit, the giver should respect the rights and liberties of the recipient.
  • Communal Effort: Our community promotes social interaction through collective acts of gifting. We value creative cooperation and collaboration. We strive to produce, promote and protect social networks, public spaces, works of art, and methods of communication that support such interaction.
  • Civic Responsibility: We value civil society. Community members who organize events should assume responsibility for public welfare and endeavor to communicate civic responsibilities to participants. They must also assume responsibility for abiding by national and local laws.
  • Leaving No Trace: Our community respects the environment. We are committed to leaving no physical trace of our activities wherever we gather. We clean up after ourselves and endeavor, whenever possible, to leave such places in a better condition than when we found them.
  • Participation: Our community is committed to a radically participatory ethic. We believe that transformative change, whether in the individual or in society, can occur only through the medium of deeply personal participation in experience. We achieve being through doing. Everyone is invited to work. Everyone is invited to play. We make the world real through actions that open the heart.
  • Immediacy: Immediate experience is, in many ways, the most important touchstone of value in our culture. We seek to overcome barriers that stand between us and a recognition of our inner selves, appreciation of the reality of those around us, participation in society, and contact with a natural world exceeding human powers. No idea can substitute for this experience.
  • Each One Teach One: As a self-reliant community, we believe the responsibility of spreading our culture lies with each and every one of us. All of us are custodians of our culture – when the opportunity presents itself, we pass knowledge on.

The AfrikaBurn Event


The event has been running since 2007, with all events to date held at Stonehenge Private Reserve, which is adjacent to the Tankwa Karoo National Park.

The event was originally called AfrikaBurns, however due to concerns about the name having possible negative connotations there was a public call for proposals on 15 May 2008. On 16 July 2008 the new name, AfrikaBurn, was officially announced via email. The new name preserves the identity of the event, but deals with possible negative interpretations changing the name from something (‘burns’) that happens to Africa, to something (a ‘burn’) that happens in Africa.

In 2010 the event was moved earlier in the year because the autumn weather is better suited to the event, and so that a public holiday (or in some years two) could be included in that period.

Presentations Location Theme Dates Participants Tickets
AfrikaBurns 2007 Tankwa Town Tribe 22 – 25 November 1,000
AfrikaBurn 2008 Tankwa Town Power 16 – 19 October 1,200
AfrikaBurn 2009 Tankwa Town Time 9 – 13 September 1,600
AfrikaBurn 2010 Tankwa Town Dream 22 – 27 April 2,200
AfrikaBurn 2011 Tankwa Town Stof: the Primal Mud 27 April – 2 May 4,000
AfrikaBurn 2012 Tankwa Town Mirage 25 - 30 April 5,700
AfrikaBurn 2013 Tankwa Town Archetypes 1 - 6 May 7,000
AfrikaBurn 2014 Tankwa Town The Trickster 28 April - 4 May 9,000
AfrikaBurn 2015 Tankwa Town The Gift 27 April – 3 May 9,800
AfrikaBurn 2016 Tankwa Town X 25 April – 1 May 11,800
AfrikaBurn 2017 Tankwa Town Play 24 - 30 April 13,000
AfrikaBurn 2018 Tankwa Town 23 - 29 April

Tankwa Karoo Locality

Screenshot from 2017-10-14 21-03-36.png

The AfrikaBurn event site is located on a private reserve on the western edge of the Tankwa Karoo National Park in the Hantam Local Municipality, which is part of the North Cape Province of South Africa. The Hantam Local Municipality is administered from Calvinia, the largest town in the area, with a population of approximately 10,000. In recent years the gathering at Tankwa Town has involved more than 10,000 people, making it - temporarily - the largest town in the region.

The Tankwa Karoo is a arid interior area in the north west of the Republic of South Africa. The region is sparsely inhabited and subject to extreme diurnal temperature changes and persistent low rainfall. Temperature variations of 25°C between day and night are common. Although arid, and subject to degradation, the area is one of significant ecological interest due to the adaptive mechanisms adopted by plants and animals in the region. The western Karoo, of which Tankwa Karoo is part, is the home of more than 50% of the world's species of succulent plants. A National Park was declared in the area around the (normally dry) Tankwa River in 1986 and has been progressively expanded. Private reserves have also been established in the surrounding areas to preserve and take advantage of the rugged natural beauty of the area.


The original inhabitants of this area were the San people. Pressure from the migrations of the Bantu people into South Africa largely bypassed this area, but commencing in the late 1800's the introduction of water pumping wind turbines opened up much of this area to grazing and European settlement. Commencing in the 1980's there was a recognition that the introduced livestock had resulted in degradation of the land and with the creation of reserves livestock were removed and while vegetation recovered naturally, many animals originally native to this area were re-introduced. Tourism based around this conservation program is a significant economic driver in this region.

Additional information on the interesting geology of this region is availabele here and on the ecology of the region here. Daily weather conditions and predictions are available online. The Tankwa Karoo region is frequently cloudless and the air extremely dry, creating excellent conditions for stargazing.

Tankwa Town Planning and Facilities

Each year the AfrikaBurn event site is recreated within the Stonehenge Private Reserve and named Tankwa Town. The name ultimately derives from the Tankwa River, a normally dry watercourse that occasionally flows through this region. Tankwa is a local word which references the river's muddy or turbid appearance when it is flowing.

The Tankwa townsite is built from the ground up each year on a flat gravel plain. The site is approximately 1.6km by 1km in extent (100 hectares or 250 acres). The only infrastructure maintained from year to year anywhere in the area is the dirt airstrip approximately 1km to the east of the actual town site. Up until 2013/2014 the town described a roughly horseshoe shape around a circular arts plaza centred on the effigy. Since 2013 participation has nearly doubled, and the additional Theme Camps and campers have been accommodated in a long 'tail' that extends one side of the original horseshoe nearly a kilometre towards the South West along the access road. The townsite is has designated 'loud' and 'loudish' areas, and generally speaking, Theme Camps dominate in the original horseshoe area and in the part of the extended tail facing the now also extended arts plaza. General camping largely occurs towards the end of the extended tail, and in two satellite campsites about 100m away.

The administrative heart of Tankwa Town is the Off-Centre Camp (OCC). The OCC is home to volunteer centre, the Medical Centre, Radio Free Tankwa, Ice Sales and the Ranger Head Quarters, along with a stage available for community use.

  • Created infrastructure - effigies etc, power, water, waste, lighting

Volunteer and Contracted Services


Theme Camps

Theme Camps work with the AfrikaBurn event organizers to present static and/or mobile public venues, performances and services, while providing their members with camping areas and communal facilities. Theme Camps are encouraged to register with the AfrikaBurn organization prior to the Blaze in order to receive support including grants, priority location and publicity in the official event guides, Theme Camps are expected to provide a significant public offering, and undertake to conform with Burn, Shire and State regulations regarding buildings and safety. Registration for AfrikaBurn 2018 closes 28 February 2018

Theme Camps have early access to the AfrikaBurn site to allow for setup prior to the event commencement. Registered Theme Camps are allocated positions generally closer to the Inner Ring than general campers, and zoned into regular, loudish, and lound zones according to their offerings.

A complete list of Theme Camps at each presentation of AfrikaBurn can be browsed on the Event Presentation pages of this Wiki. Theme Camps that have had a recurring presence at AfrikaBurn include:

Participant Experience

Getting To and From AfrikaBurn

  • location and routes
  • Road conditions, including at various times of day
  • general care and safety, road regulations
  • Public transport
  • Vehicle hire and care
  • Vehicle share
  • fuel and supplies availability en route, and at closest towns
  • supporting local economy, ordering supplies locally - options
  • vehicle parking and movement onsite.
  • shuttle services
  • Nearby attractions

Carbon Offsets

Other Events and Activities

Significant Dates



Internal Publications

AfrikaBurn's website.....

AfrikaBurn's social media presence...

AfrikaBurn has been producing it's own newlsetter since 2007. Editions since 2016 have been [digitised], and work is underway to bring the entire series online. Originally known as the 'The AfrikaBurn Newsletter', it adopted the name Baardskeerder in 2016. Baardskeerder, literally 'beard cutter' is a common name given to the Camel Spider, sp. Solifugae. The spider/scorpion is relatively harmless, although it will 'nip' if provoked, and has been known to snip off the hairs and feathers of unwary beasts in order to line its nests.

Commercial Media Coverage

media kit?.

Blogs, Videography and Reports

Accreditation rules/guidance....

  • Vimeo: From the Befotke Kosche Theme Camp: AfrikaBurn 2015: (5:22) Some beautiful drone footage and soundtrack.
  • Vimeo: From Dewald Brand and Herman du Toit and others: AfrikaBurn 2017: (11:40) More brilliant videography set to poetry.


See Also

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