The sun has gone over the horizon, taking the edge off the heat. Soon participants will go from sweltering to chilly. We’ve already packed our kit, signed in at the Ranger station, swapped out expended radio batteries for new, and are ready for a walkabout on the Binnekring.

The further we walk, the more beautiful the sky becomes. Time to ensure that our flashlights are still working and to turn on our body lights; nobody wants to be an unsafe dark ‘tard.

I love the inventive ways some participants light themselves.

There’s always time for a stop by a coffee-shop, especially an alien one.

The main structure, protected by Ranger Caramel (Carmella). In a few days we’ll deploy a perimeter, fire dancers will encircle the area, and the fire crew will light it ablaze.

Poi spinning! Carmella loves spinning the poi. I’ve been encouraging her to try her hand at it but thus far she’s been self-conscious. I’ve seen here, though; she’s good.

24 hours later, again we’re getting ready to go on shift. Part of our secret is to sleep through the hot part of the day, waking in the late afternoon, and avoiding the taxing load of the “evil day star”. Carmella is awake, chilly from leaving our warm sleeping space, or she’s drying off after a shower; I can’t recall. In any case, she’s getting ready to go on shift.

And we’re back at it again! Tankwa Town can rest easy knowing we’re on the job :-)

We check in with the Rangers on station at the main structure. As is usual at AfrikaBurn, everyone is well-behaved. This is a very engaged, supportive, self-reliant community. Many of the military-aged males have war experience in Rhodesia or Zimbabwe and a week of camping on the Karoo is truly a vacation.

It’s the last few moments of light. Radio check. Light check. Partner check.

It’s beautiful out there! We walkabout through beds of lighted flowers, dance by the music camps, interact with the mutant vehicles, and compliment every fabulous outfit that we see. It’s a wonderful evening on the Binnekring.

Roses are red,
Violets are blue,
Some selfies work well,
But this one doesn’t.

Another evening, another perimeter, another fire performance. Tonight, though, while we’re on duty we’re watching from the participants’ side of things.

Carmella, interacting, in the style of the old impressionists. Actually it’s out of focus. Sorry.

A full eclipse of the moon? Nope, even though I did get a chance to see that at Burning Man 2007, a few minutes before Paul Addis set fire to the Man.

This baloon is part of Balloon Chain, a traveling art installation run by Robert Bose (The Balloon Guy) and his co-artist Michael Cha.

The chain of baloons gently undulate through the dark skies. We’ve met Robert several times, at Burning Man, and tonight we have a chance to hang out and chat for a while. He’s happy to have familiar faces about, and we prolong the pleasant evening with libations provided by passers-by. Robert gifted us each a huge LED attached to a watch battery, which we immediately attach to our hats. Thanks, Robert!

Look! Carmella tries her hand at electric poi!

I’m so happy to see her giving it another try; it’s been so long since I’ve seen her doing this.

Here’s a few animated images of what it looked like.



Happy Burn Day! Tonight the major art pieces will be immolated. We follow a mutant vehicle out to the site of the first burn preparation. (Note the safety walkers on each side of the “train”. Thank you, guys.)

The sun sets, and the occasional murmur of “burn the clan” is heard. We help the Rangers on duty to pace out an appropriate perimeter and then to evenly staff it, taking note of the wind direction. Very few people will want to be downwind of the fire, with sparks raining down, blanketed by the billowing smoke. Rangers are placed accordingly.

Fire dancers evenly spaced around the Clan. The crowd has been seated, the first row or three making a natural physical (and social) barrier for those who come after.


Dancing done, the fire-starters approach the Clan.

The base now in flames, it becomes a waiting game. Rangers face the crowds, the roaring, crackling fire consumes the Clan.

Fully engulfed, with a lone Ranger, Carmella, on safety patrol.

Later, the scene is repeated at Metamorphosis. This burn goes much more quickly.

The morning after, our last day in Tankwa Town, Carmella and I are at the common volunteer space, stoking the kettles. Check out the glove on that girl!

Our last sunset of AfrikaBurn, and of our time in South Africa as well. Meloncholia…

Fire-spinners perform around the LOVE art piece.

New video by Michael Sattler / Google Photos
New video by Michael Sattler / Google Photos

We celebrate the end of a great event with a new friend.

Out of the dark, as these things should, a food truck materializes just as we realize how hungry we are. The playa provides.

The event over, the participants mostly are gone, so we take our leave of the Tankwa Karoo and head back to Cape Town, which I’ll document on its own page. I notice the wristbands we’re still wearing: the black one is for the event, the green one denotes us as staff. I wear mine for a long while.

We kept the vehicle clean, and packed garbage as we made it, so returning the 4×4 is an easy chore for the Britz staff and us. Most of the time is pulling things out for their inventory. It’s a nice way to wrap up our AfrikaBurn.

Thanks for coming along to AfrikaBurn!

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.