afrikaburn 3 fresh eyes

Afrikaburn: The Largest Regional Burning Man Event

The Burning Man community manifests around the world in the form of regional burns. The largest is Afrikaburn, which takes place in April/May each year in the desert of Tankwa, Karoo, South Africa. In 2019, 16,783 participants united to create Tankwa Town, the temporary experiment in community, art, self expression and survival camping that is Afrikaburn.

I hope these photos featuring the people, mutant vehicles, art, effigies and community of Afrikaburn inspire you to participate in a regional burn near you! If you are curious how Afrikaburn stacks up to Burning Man, be sure to read till the end!

Radical Self Expression: the People of Afrikaburn

burner girls at afrikaburnburner portrait at afrikaburnthe spirit train at afrikaburn 2019lisa masson at afrikaburn 2019burner girls at the spirit train at afrikaburnburner style at afrikaburn 2019lisa masson debbie at cobracabana afrikaburn 2019burners at afrikaburn

burner portrait in front of the unicorn art car at afrikaburn 2019burner couple at afrikaburnburners at the temple of xam burn at afrikaburn 2019happy burners at afrikaburn 2019burner girl at afrikaburn 2019burner style at afrikaburn 2019lisa masson burner portrait at afrikaburn 2019 song and sky campbjorn in front of the temple of Xam Burn at afrikaburn 2019burners in front of the spirit train at afrikaburnburner portait at afrikaburn 2019

The Clan: the Central Effigy in Tankwa Town

san clan symbol of afrikaburn 2019The ‘San Clan’ is burned at the climax of the week, much like the man of Burning Man. It is a uniquely South African symbol directly influenced by a San cave painting outside Tarkastad in the Eastern Cape Province. It represents a community as one, united. The Clan is interpreted by a different artist each year and in 2019 it was a bedside lamp to make you feel right at home. The clan symbol is cutout on its shade.

“It didn’t depict any particular gender, and captured the collaboration and community we wanted to inspire… In time of course I realized that it was also symbolic of how many heads will seldom all be in agreement, and that the multitude of dancing legs can dance to different drums.” -Greg Dunn

the san clan at sunset at afrikaburn 2019

Mutant Vehicles: Art Cars and Bikes of Afrikaburn

lisa masson in front of the rhino art car at afrikaburn 2019

department of mutant vehicles at afrikaburn 2019chariot mutant vehicle at afrikaburn 2019mutant vehicle at afrikaburn 2019

the mungeon spider dungeon art car by cexx camp at afrikaburn

mutant vehicle unicorn art car at afrikaburn 2019skull mutant vehicle art car at afrikaburn 2019

Art of Afrikaburn

lisa masson in front of the embrace, an art piece at afrikaburn by jenn moldovanos. This piece "serves as a reminder of the importance of human touch and that the act of a single, genuine hug can have a ripple effect of love and bonding with you, your tribe and your greater community.

butterfly wing art piece at afrikaburn 2019Fess Up art piece at afrikaburn 2019

redemption art at afrikaburn 2019deep playa art gallery dome at afrikaburn 2019love all art sign at afrikaburn

touring art bunny sculpture at afrikaburn 2019

The Octocrab: interactive art piece and effigy. You could climb up the legs and slide down! It rained ash as it burned.

Interactive art piece and effigy. You could climb up and slide down at afrikaburn 2019.

octocrab art piece at afrikaburn 2019climbing the octocrab art piece at afrikaburn 2019the octocrab burn at afrikaburn 2019

Temples of Afrikaburn

The Temple of Xam was built out of weaved wattle as a monument to the original inhabitants of the Tankwa Karoo. It was a semi permanent structure that burned in 2019 quietly and beautifully.

The Temple of Stars by Walter Böhmer and the Starlight Collective.

Temple of Stars at Afrikaburn 2019

Communal Effort and Gifting: Sound Stages, Camps and More

The Spirit Train: mutant vehicle/sound stage gifting a mobile party across Afrikaburn

Cobracabana: sound stage and effigy that gifted techno from Berlin and Snake Juice wine from South Africa!

cobracabana sound stage at afrikaburn 2019

Cobracabana

snake juice gifting from cobracabana at afrikaburn 2019gifting by cobracabana at afrikaburn 2019

Lupis: the wolf sound stage with a laser shooting out the mouth

Lisa Masson in front of Lupis, the wolf sound stage at afrikaburn 2019

Lupis, the wolf sound stage

Potato Heads: best hot lunch served at Afrikaburn! There was a different recipe each day. I loved camping with this crew! 🙂

potato heads lunch served at afrikaburn 2019potato heads lunch served at afrikaburn 2019potato heads lunch served at afrikaburn 2019

Fractal Chill Ethiopian Coffee House

ethiopian coffee house at afrikaburn 2019

Solstice: sound stage that brought great music and a lot of pyrotechnics

soulstice sound stage at afrikaburn 2019


How is Afrikaburn different from Burning Man?

Burning Man draws in ~70,000 participants to create Black Rock City, which is quite a lot larger than Tankwa Town’s ~17,000. There are 10 principles of burning man that reflect the ethos and culture of the community: Radical Inclusion, Gifting, Decommodification, Radical Self-Reliance, Radical Self-Expression, Communal Effort, Civic Responsibility, Leave No Trace, Participation and Immediacy. Afrikaburn has an 11th official principle: Each One, Teach One.

With the smaller size, there is a greater sense of intimacy. It is a lot easier to meet up with friends and see people more than once. This is my favorite aspect of regional burns. I feel there is a more significant focus on community. All in all, it is a town and not a city!

At Burning Man, you really need a bike or mutant vehicle to navigate the vast landscape. Alternatively, you really don’t need a bike to get around Tankwa Town. If you would like to bike, there is a camp called Pedals for Peace where you can purchase one and they will donate it to a community in need after the burn.

Contrary to the rough portos of Black Rock City, Afrikaburn provides a very different restroom situation- a “loo with a view” where you can catch the sunset, sunrise or stars.

golden hour at the gate of afrikaburn 2019

deep playa sunsets at afrikaburn 2019

All in all, Afrikaburn is an amazing regional burn that is worth taking part in. I fell in love with it and will be back!

Have you been to a Regional Burn? What did you enjoy the most? Let me know below in the comments!

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3 thoughts on “Afrikaburn: The Largest Regional Burning Man Event

    1. Thank you Gernus!! I hope your decompression is going well. I will definitely have a look at your post. 🙂

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