AfrikaBurn 2023: 24 to 30 April

A Strange Place I Call Home

– words: Fehraad De Nicker, photos: Karmajustfar

How would you describe your home? A place with walls, floors, carpets and a ceiling? A place that is your sanctuary? A place where your family is? A place where you’ve grown up from? A space you want to escape to or from? A place where you can take your shoes off?
My home is set in the vast expanse of a desert in a bowl surrounded by majestic and surreal mountains that are like fortress walls protecting treasures inside a castle. This place is desolated for most of the year with a limited colour palette and a vastness that finally ends at the surrounding foot of the mountains.
Photo by Karmajustfar
Annually, a horde of crazy-wonderful-loud-beautiful-wacky-inspired-funny-insane creatures storm into the desert bowl for their spiritual gathering. A gathering so great that it sends ripples of pure energy through the universe that it has the ability to influence those that have not awoken from their conscious-slumber.
The gathering is a social experiment called AfrikaBurn: a participation-created movement that involves inclusive community building, decommodification, creativity, self-reliance and radical self-expression. It’s a chance to reinvent the world we know.
Photo by Karmajustfar
My pilgrimage continued as this was year No.2 that I joined my pack of 7000 creatures – this year we were proudly boasting 2000 more. The experience we created together for 5 days (some of us longer, me included) has resulted in many inherent changes being made. The changes I speak about are basic, but this is the tipping point. What change? If you were there you cannot lie to your inner self!  We all are questioning our way of life in the default-world!
We are not starting a religious movement: we’re a revolution for change in the world that we live in.
Out there in the desert, you said ‘Hi’ and hugged a stranger, you shared a truth and secret, you danced with strangers, you played, you laughed and cried with strangers, you found a new friend, you discovered a lover – sometimes more than one, you pushed your boundary, you dispelled your individual belief of what was taboo, you participated in so many ways, you gifted a stranger and accepted a gift from a stranger, you helped, you provided an artwork, you gave someone a lift, you talked and shared your moments, you got dressed into a costume that would be so crazy in the default world but so normal out there.
Photo by Karmajustfar
Is it such a difficult notion to accept that we are all ‘creators’? We are a growing tribe of participants who come together to create art, build and burn structures, dress in costume (or none at all), become a performance or part thereof, build theme camps for your fellow citizens, share your music, provide lifts on your mutant vehicles and much more. We create our experience through volunteer-based culture.
You see out there, the truth is that we are all family; some of us new and some of us old. Our family grows as the influence continues. Our ethos must be preached so that the ‘virgins’ proclaim it. The seed was planted in 2007, the root grew for 5 years and the stem has broken the surface in 2013…
This is my home I have left…. and I can’t wait to go home again to continue my pilgrimage!

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