AfrikaBurn 2025: 28 April to 4 May

Dream a Big Art Dream

Dani Hervey writes:

In April 2019 I stepped into the space that is the Tankwa Karoo, with open blue skies and endless horizons.

I spent four days with some friends, but mainly alone, staring in wonder at the incredible creations that people had dreamt up and built with their hands. I was entranced, not so much by the music, or the people, or the skies, but from the art.
I couldn’t believe that you could build something so big in the middle of absolutely nowhere.

This is not about AfrikaBurn itself.

This is more about a journey of what you’re capable of, as you get older and what keeps you alive and vital.

As I’ve got older, I’ve seen that although age brings a degree of wisdom, a consensus with life, it also brings a ton of self-doubt, insecurity and many infallibilities that perhaps we didn’t recognise when we were younger.

I remember walking into the AB offices in late 2019 with my art project and someone remarked: “Oh, that’s very sweet“. Later on, I heard someone also say: “This is so Grade 1”.

Jirre. Jislaaik.

I was applying for an art grant, and I just knew that against the incredible installations that I was up against, I would never in a million years receive any funding. I went home and cried for three hours. I wasn’t good enough, I cried. It was simply word art. It wasn’t good enough, everyone else’s art was “better”, more beautiful, even more stunning.

My ego had won this round.

I brought the subject of the art installation at dinner one night with friends, to which one of them replied “Surely, you could spend the money on something a little less frivolous. It’s such a waste of money.”

I closed the topic down and stared into my plate. I was angry, perhaps that the comment was born out of a friend that did care, but what happened after that, is that it made me even more determined to pursue what I wanted to do.

And then we were awarded an art grant which spurred us into very serious action, alongside crowdfunding and personal monies.
Over the next three years with Covid in-between, I spent six months of weekends thinking, discussing, drawing, rehashing and building my dream. And that stage, right at that exact moment, it became more than just ‘my dream’.

It became everyone else’s dream.

It rallied a group of like-minded people who believed in the dream. And at the end of it we took it back to the desert, where it stood for two years.

It didn’t end up to be exactly what I wanted, but actually it turned out to be a whole bunch more than that.

It taught me courage, team building, a shed load of laughing and swearing, quite a lot of crying, resilience, self belief, problem-solving, and for me especially, that age is just a number.

One Response

  1. What an inspirational story. Age is just a number. I can identify with that. I celebrated my 70th birthday at AfrikaBurn, 2024 as a Virgin Burner. I cannot put into words what an experience it was. I will be back in 2025…. older, not necessarily wiser, but definitely with a heart that is wider. Best way to be.

Leave a Reply

Share this article:

Facebook
Twitter

Related news:

  • All
  • Anathi
  • Art
  • Binnekring Blog
  • Building & Burning
  • Burning Man
  • Community
  • Development News
  • Ecological Responsibility
  • Hard Questions
  • home
  • Homeburn
  • International Burning
  • Job opportunities
  • Latest News
  • Participation
  • Photos & Videos
  • Quaggafontein / The new site
  • Tankwa Tales
  • Tankwa Tips
  • The Eleven Principles
  • The Event
  • Theme Camps
  • Tickets
    •   Back
    • Children at the burn
    • Town Hall
    •   Back
    • Light Art
    • Mutant Vehicles
    • Project Registration
    • Creative Grants
    • Fundraisers
    • Streetopia
    • Performance
    •   Back
    • Decommodification
    • Gifting
    • Leave No Trace
    • Radical Self Reliance
    • Radical Self-expression
    • MOOP
    •   Back
    • Rangers
    • Tales of the Orange
    • Volunteer
    • Sanctuary
    • DPW
    •   Back
    • MOOP
    •   Back
    • Suppliers
    •   Back
    • Traveling to the Burn