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AfrikaBurn logo.png
DatesApril / May
Location(s)[Tankwa Karoo]

AfrikaBurn is an official Burning Man regional[1] event, held annually at Stonehenge Private Reserve, in the Northern Cape Province of South Africa since 2007. It is centred on the construction of temporary artworks in a semi-desert environment, some of which are burnt towards the end of the event. Many attendees wear elaborate costumes and create decorated "mutant vehicles".[2]


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.[citation needed]

Paul Jorgensen had attended several Burning Man festivals and become good friends with Larry Harvey and the Burner family, he had come out to South Africa to see his parents and with the express intention of creating an artistic platform to unite and bring together his fellow South Africans on a playground without politic. His friend from school Robert Weinek was the natural choice for collaborator. With his fabulous art and gallery background and experience as a cultural agitator, he was the perfect foil to marry Paul's energy with the "mandate" from Larry to get things burning here in Africa. Robert Weinek reached out to Liane Visser, realising that her intimate knowledge of the local art scene and experience as an outdoor promoter and party designer would be the perfect catalyst. Over a dinner at Malplaas the initial plan was hatched between the three cultural alchemists.......many of the early concepts like the "Binnekring" and "Buitekring" and the delightful inclusion of Afrikaans as the "official" lexicon were conceived of that night. It took nearly two years of behind the scenes knitting and weaving by these three, before the first event took place.[citation needed]

A special mention should also be made for the energy, input and inspiration of Paul Grose, John Allesandri, Harry Logos, Simon and Yutta who helped coddle the little spark into the flame that it has become.[citation needed]

The company's founding members were Paul Jorgensen, Robert Weinek and Liane Visser, Mike 't Sas-Rolfes (a special mention should be made of Michael's mom whose energy and support helped create the first mini-burn at Roberts house in Somerset West) along with Richard Bowsher and Monique Schiess.

The event has been running since 2007, with all events to date held on a private farm called Stonehenge, which is adjacent to the Tankwa Karoo National Park. The farm is very isolated, as it is situated half-way along the R355, a 250 kilometres (160 mi) long untarred road between Calvinia and Ceres in the Northern Cape Province of South Africa.

The event was originally called Afrika Burns, however owing 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 rules out possible negative interpretations by changing the name from something that happens ('burns') to Africa, to something that happens (a 'burn') in Africa.

In 2010 the dates of the annual event were moved to earlier in the year, as autumn weather is better suited to the event, and it is currently possible for a public holiday (or in some years two public holidays) to be included within the week during which the event runs. It also means that it is not so close to Burning Man, to allow for more international participants.

The theme for any AfrikaBurn is intended as a point of possible connection, or inspiration. The theme is not enforced, and art or performance is not necessarily in line with the theme.

Year Dates Location Theme Participants San Clan
2007 22–25 November Stonehenge farm Tribe ~1,000
2008 16–19 October Stonehenge farm Power ~1,200
2009 9–13 September Stonehenge farm Time ~1,600
2010 22–27 April Stonehenge farm Dream ~2,200
2011 27 April - 2 May Stonehenge farm Stof: the Primal Mud ~4,000
2012 25–30 April Stonehenge farm Mirage ~5,700 San clan 2012.jpg
2013 1–6 May Stonehenge farm Archetypes ~7,000 San Clan, AfrikaBurn 2013.JPG
2014 28 April - 4 May Stonehenge farm The Trickster ~9,000 San clan 2014.jpg
2015 27 April - 3 May Stonehenge farm The Gift[3] ~9,800 AfrikaBurn 2015 San Clan.JPG
2016 25 April - 1 May Stonehenge farm X[4] ~11,700
2017 24–30 April Stonehenge farm Play[5] ~13,000[6]
2018 23–29 April Stonehenge farm Working Title______________[7] ~11,000
2019 29 April – 5 May Stonehenge farm Ephemeropolis ~11,500
2020[A] 27 April – 3 May Stonehenge farm Afroboratory Cancelled[9] Cancelled
2021 Quaggafontein[10]

The current Executive Director of the Organisation is Lorraine Tanner. The Non Executive Directors include: Adriaan Wessels, Roger Van Wyk, Brad Baard and Nic Raubenheimer.[citation needed]

San Clan[edit]

San Clan burn at AfrikaBurn 2015

By analogy to the Man at Burning Man, the main sculpture at the event is called the San Clan. It is designed to look like a San rock art glyph of a group of people. The intention is to convey the idea of unity and community at the event. Like some sculptures at the event, it is burnt. The burn used to take place on the Saturday night, but is now scheduled for Friday nights in order to accommodate weather delays and provide participants from far afield with more time to return home from the event. The original signifier, that of the many headed dancing clan spirit was first conceived by Liane Visser.


An artist at AfrikaBurn 2007

As a regional Burning Man event, AfrikaBurn adheres to the ten principles of Burning Man[11] and added another in 2014. Among these guiding principles[12] are the Leave No Trace[13] philosophy, self-expression, self-reliance, and communal effort.[14] The 11th principle, 'Each One Teach One', was added to encourage the sharing of knowledge throughout the community, in order to ensure the uptake of culture matches the growth in numbers. Money is not allowed on the camping site of the event since nothing is for sale, if people need something they either trade it with something else or simply ask for it and thereby employing a gift economy.[15]

Pets are not allowed at the event. This is due to concerns for the safety of both the animals (loud noises and an inhospitable environment), and the participants. In addition, fireworks, flares and fire lanterns are not permitted.

Theme camps are one of the key components of vibrant regional Burning Man events. Theme camps are established by participants to enhance the experience for all participants.

Major theme camps from the last few years include "Alienz Coffee Shop", "BeDazzled", "Birthday Suits", "Burning Mail", "Camp Anvil", "Camp High Tea", "Camp Skaduwee", "Desert Magic", "Flow Arts Commune", "Fractal Chill Ethiopian Coffee House", "Love All Tennis", "Magical Mystery Mob", "New Beginnings", "Camp Now!", "Rust 'n Dust", "Smokescreen", "Space Cowboys", "State of Bliss", "Sunset Oasis", "The Emperor's New Theme Camp", "The Friend Zone", "The Grease Monkeys", "The Pancake People", "The Purple Spanking Booth", "The Steampunk Saloon", "The Tankwa Town Library", "The Theatre of Playful Banter", "The Vuvustasie", "The Wild Ass Saloon" and "WeR1 Soulstice". Each year, the number of Theme Camps grows in line with the increase in numbers.

"MOOP", or Matter Out Of Place, is the term for litter. Reducing and removing MOOP is part of the Leave No Trace philosophy.


  1. ^ Cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic[8]


  1. ^ "Regional Network". AfrikaBurn. Retrieved 2013-06-05. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  2. ^ "What is AfrikaBurn". AfrikaBurn. Retrieved 2015-06-04. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  3. ^ "2015 Theme the Gift". Archived from the original on 2014-10-04. Retrieved 2014-09-24. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  4. ^ "2016 Theme".
  5. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2016-10-14. Retrieved 2016-10-26.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  6. ^
  7. ^ "2018 Theme".
  8. ^ "AfrikaBurn 2020 Cancellation Statement". AfrikaBurn. 13 March 2020. Retrieved 13 March 2020.
  9. ^ Alex, Alex. "AfrikaBurn 2020 cancelled". News24. Retrieved 2020-03-13.
  10. ^ Lyle, Travis. "A New Blank Canvas". New Horizons. Retrieved 2019-11-15.
  11. ^ "10 Principles of Burning Man". Burning Man. Archived from the original on 2013-01-18. Retrieved 2013-06-05. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  12. ^ "Guiding Principles". AfrikaBurn. Retrieved 2013-06-05. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  13. ^ "Leave No Trace". AfrikaBurn. Retrieved 2013-06-05. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  14. ^ "Community Participation". AfrikaBurn. Retrieved 2013-06-05. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  15. ^ "2017 Afrikaburn Festival". 2017.

External links[edit]