Though most Americans are familiar with Burning Man, the nonconformist festival that takes place in a Nevada desert, most people are unaware that its largest counterpart, the Afrikaburn Festival, takes place outside of Cape Town, South Africa in the Karoo desert.
Afrikaburn Festival takes place for seven days, usually at the end of April, and has been taking place for the past eight years.
Much like the American Burning Man, attendees gather to break away from convention, and celebrate imagination and self-expression through huge art sculptures, all night and day music concerts, and performances of all sorts. This peaceful defiance of the norms of society provides an outlet for free spirits to rebel in a positive, uplifting way. There is no cash exchange, no vendors, nothing for sale. Termed a ‘gift economy,’ simply asking is the only way to receive food or any other goods.
Most people go with a group, usually people who have participated in previous years, to set up a camp site. People sleep in RVs or tents and bring their own food and water. It is highly advised to bring a bicycle for transporting around the large temporary city, called Tanwa Town, on a private farm called Stonehenge.
Feel free to dress up! You’ll see some awesomely outlandish costumes that reflect the theme of the year. The enthusiastic bring mutant vehicles to drive across the desert. Whatever you bring, be sure to adhere to the Leave No Trace Behind Policy. As miraculously as Tanwa Town appears, it will just as quickly disappear and the desert will go back to looking untouched and uninhabited.
The culmination of the event is the burning of the San Clan, a sculptural representation of a piece of San rock art signifying solidarity among all humans.
Tickets are around $93 and go on sale a few months ahead of the event. The maximum amount sold is 8500, so be sure to make plans and book your spot early. More information and exact directions can be found here. If you’re looking for a festival that is truly other-worldly, look no further than Afrikaburn!
Have you ever been to Burning Man? Or to Afrikaburn?