Ten years of AfrikaBurn
AfrikaBurn revolves around a main theme each year. This time round it's X, as a Roman numeral for ten and as the letter that stands for an unknown quantity. A tribute to the festival's tenth anniversary, reflecting both the past and what is yet to come.
It all started on a San Francisco beach in 1986 when a group of friends met to celebrate the summer solstice. As a party finale, they burnt the wooden effigy of a man. So, Burning Man was born. In the 90s the festival got so big that it had to be moved to a more ‘open’ location in the Nevada desert. Since then, the event is attended by some 70,000 ‘burners’, which is how festival goers are known, and tickets are usually sold out in minutes, a far cry from the secrecy with which the festival was shrouded in the early years. In fact, some gurus in Silicon Valley have been accused of devaluing the festival by erecting huge temporary mansions in the desert.
AfrikaBurn’s history is more recent. The first event was held on African soil in 2007. Smaller in size, the ‘little brother’ of Burning Man attracts around 10-15% of the audience attending the US event, although it’s drawing more visitors every year, and all kinds of nationalities. The 2016 festival is being held from 25 April to 1 May in Tankwa Karoo National Park, around 300 kilometres north of Cape Town. Every participant gets a passport with a very clear message: “Dance, groove, scream, shout, cartwheel, cavort naked and howl at the moon freely and without hindrance”.