Located about 400 kilometers outside of Cape Town in (quite literally) a remote desert, Afrika Burn is the ‘African regional’ festival for the Nevada based Burning Man. Although less than 250 miles away from Cape Town, our voyage lasted over four hours, as over 100 kilometers took place on unpaved roads, consequently leaving us with a popped tire. Thankfully, Matty and I have gotten quite efficient at changing a tire (as our last road trip landed us with three popped/flat tires); however, it made the rest of the driving horribly nerve wrecking as we would have found ourselves stranded without an extra spare if anything else happened to our tires.
Burn, baby burn... This was a giant pirate ship earlier in the day
Afrika Burn is an art festival in every sense. Shaped as a giant clock watch, each time (1 o clock, 2 o clock, etc.) has a theme, often including art, music, and activities taking place through out the day. We parked our dirrrty car behind the themed tent ‘The Succulents,’ an octopus themed group that a few of our friends helped set up for the weekend. In side the giant clock, were several giant sculptures and statues that were to be burned on Sunday after sunset. The entire festival is non-commercial, once again placing me in an environment where money is worthless and bartering skills are essential. Besides the large quantity of students attending the festival, other participants seemed to fit into two categories, peace loving hippies or absolute freaks. People of all ages were seen dressed (or undressed) in the most bizarre outfits floundering from each themed tent. Besides ‘The Succulents,’ I loved ‘The Desert Rose,’ a cowboy bar and an Intimacy themed camp that gave out relationship advice and offered a variety of activities including palm readings and dating services. The dating service acted as an Afrika Burns e-harmony, seeking to match you with your ‘true love.’ After filling out a questionnaire, one received a sticker and if you found your matching sticker by the end of the festival, you had found your one and only true love. God, hippies freak me out.
I traveled along side my roommate Lina, Matty, Robin (a neighbor), and Chelsea (a neighbor and fellow U of M student). Lina and I packed a weak selection of food for the weekend including, peanut butter, bread, apples, and muffins. Thankfully, the people at the festival were extraordinarily generous (those damn hippies). We basically showed up to the festival not knowing what to think and to be honest, I would never have expected what I saw. Essentially acting as a giant festival during the day and techno rave at night, it was just a weird environment. I had a ton of fun, but I wouldn’t exactly call it my scene. By the end of the first night, my hair had literally begun to dreadlock from all the sand being blown around. After 2 nights of no showering, my hair had become unrecognizable.