It’s been a couple of weeks since we’ve experienced the indescribable. By now we’ve settled back into our everyday lives. We wake up, go to work, come back home and repeat. To some it might seem like we’ve continued with our lives like nothing has happened but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Every day we think about it, we relive it, we feel it, and we shed tears over it. It has become a part of us, a part that will stay with us forever.
This is the place where we fall in love with dust, art sculptures, people and each other. The place where we can dress up and play like kids without anyone questioning our actions. This is the place where we aren’t just allowed to be free but where we’re encouraged to be free. This is the place we call home.
Last year after my second Afrikaburn I wrote a detailed blogpost about what it meant to me. I didn’t want to rewrite what I wrote last year in different words because it didn’t feel real and honest to me. So I decided that this year I will ask some of the people closest to my heart to tell me what it is about Afrikaburn that makes it so special to them. This is what they said:
“The environment of Afrikaburn brings out the inner kid that’s hiding in your grown up body. It’s a place that lets one fully express their inner creativity and be exactly who they want to be! There is no judgment and no expectations. For me Burn is almost a glitch in our “system” as it acts as a portal into a dimension where people are free to do anything they would like to do. As a result you are surrounded by loving individuals whose smiles and energies radiate off one another. It’s a place of pure love and happiness and there’s something really reassuring about that, which I try remember in my everyday life. It reminds me to keep a smile on my face and remain true to myself no matter the situation or time.” – Anna Kaplan
“Tankwa is a teacher with many different students. Talk to any one of them about Afrikaburn and you will soon learn that escapism paves the way for an incredible amount of introspection that is amplified in an external awareness of, not only your environment, but also your fellow human beings. At Afrikaburn, you are bound by kindness, observation, participation and the responsibility to shape your own experience. In Tankwa, you are an individual (outer) but you are also one (inner).” – Natasha van Niekerk
“It’s really challenging to put into words what I love most about Afrikaburn. From the moment your signal starts to disappear, you can feel all the pressures and perceptions that society holds against you slowly strip away from your conscious self, which allows you to enter Tankwa town with a clear canvas that invites the magic and wonder that Afrikaburn has to offer, completely envelop and consume your soul. The sense of total freedom, radical self expression, high positive vibrations and unfathomable love that you gain from the environment, the people and the creative contributions is a sense that cannot be explained but has to be experienced. The only way that I can describe the experience of Afrikaburn is magical and that is what I love the most, the Magic.” – Rachel Ribeiro
“The collective effort and raw, pure intention of all who partake in Afrikaburn creates a white-noise of healing energy that propagates throughout Tankwa Town. Whether it be a well-deserved pat on the back from the universe, or an unexpected mess of challenges, one can be sure Afrikaburn will dish it out to you as you need it and NOT how you want it. Nonetheless, if your intent is pure and you are true to yourself Tankwa will reward you every time without fail. To me, the true beauty of Afrikaburn is that it strips you of all that normally keeps you distracted, leaving nothing but you and the desert.” – Dylan Hellig
“My favourite part of Afrikaburn is the experience itself. Last year, at my first Burn, I was absolutely blown away by everything – the art, the people, the culture – this year was no different. It is truly a place of self-expression and creativity – the one place where being a grownup is the least of your worries. Forget everything anyone has ever told you about how to act in society; once you set foot into the desert, everything changes – from speaking to absolute strangers, having them invite you into their ‘desert home’ to climbing up actual pieces of art to see how far the desert goes, writing letters on the temple’s walls, to accepting gin and tonics from a Mad-hatter’s tea party. The entirety of Afrikaburn is about participation of the people, money has no value and your status in society is irrelevant. I could go on forever and tell you about each experience that has blown my mind, but no words could ever truly convey how I felt there. A piece of Afrikaburn remains in everyone and that piece differs from person to person. As the saying goes, “for those who have been, no explanation is needed. But for those who haven’t, no one explanation is possible.” – Andi Settas
“Afrikaburn is something you can’t expect and something you want to experience. My time spent at Afrikaburn shone a ray of light into a world unknown. My favourite and most wonderful experience was the feeling of community within the culture of Afrikaburn. The sense of community is what made the human species become so strong & allowed us to evolve intellectually through collective learning. Afrikaburn reveals how community makes each person feel wanted and connected to the higher energy which is why we are all here. To share in the feeling of oneness and to learn from one another” – Luke Artemides
So yeah, even though it might seem like we continue with our lives like we didn’t just have the most amazing, surreal experience; inside we carry an explosion of magic just waiting to be released the next time we go back home.