AfrikaBurn 2023: 24 to 30 April


For anyone attending AfrikaBurn over the past two years, there was one iconic artwork that was the talk of Tankwa Town. Something so extraordinary, primal and awe-inspiring that it’s become something of an icon for the entire African Burner community: Lizzy the life-size flaming T-Rex.
In 2012 she strode across the Tankwa night, blazing a bewitching trail of sparks and snapping her jaws. The crowd, lit by the dancing light of her fire, stood slack-jawed. Lizzy was not alone – in that first show, the Fata Morgana crew had also created a 7-metre high Earth that spun on its axis, and two huge boxing bunnies who fought each other as they spun, flaming in the night. The bunnies were joined by another artist’s smaller fire art as they fought: headless fire chickens ran around in confusion. At the climax of that first show, Lizzy rushed at the spinning globe of fire and crashed into it in a massive explosion of sparks.
Lizzie Sunset by Eric Nathan
In the 2013 show, Lizzy and the Fata’s were joined by The Metalheads and a number of other able-bodied blacksmiths and artists who now make up the AfrikaBurn Fire Collective. Lizzy became the star of a much larger show: a fire theatre complete with wizards who ignited an enormous flaming Pendulum that slowly swung higher and higher whilst an ominous giant egg gestated on the desert slowly pulsing light, showing signs of life. As the music swelled higher and louder, animated kinetic fire animals took to the sky: a hammerhead shark swam through the air, and a polar bear danced in a night sea.  As the show approached climax, the glowing egg ignited and was torn apart as Lizzy emerged, enraged and afire.  The bunnies boxed again, and a massive phoenix trike roared as it chased a peacock but the phoenix had Lizzy in hot pursuit. The crowd (most of the 7500 people at AfrikaBurn this year) were simply dumbstruck and once again in absolute awe.
For those that have seen the show – and those who haven’t – check out this great video:

But it wasn’t the end for Lizzy and her menagerie of fire beasts. Lizzy and the rest of the show are now headed to Burning Man, to bring the same incredible kinetic fireshow to the citizens of Black Rock City. It’s no small undertaking – to ship the trike, Pendulum, Lizzy and the many other mechanical parts that make up the show requires a huge amount of manpower, time and logistics. Getting the basic structure from South Africa to Nevada is only one part of the challenge – the crew all need to be able to get there, reassemble the show’s components and set it up in record time,  and all of this costs a lot of money.
As the AfrikaBurn Fire Collective feverishly prepare their equipment and vehicles for then journey to the USA time is running out – they need the support of the entire Burner community to help get them there. The crew has started an Indiegogo to enable Burners to support them – and they’re raising funds slowly – but the mark is set at $25,000, and they’re a long way off.
If you can support, please do – every penny counts in this great endeavour to get AfrikaBurn art to the playa of Black Rock City.
One thing’s for sure: staging this show at Burning Man will set the Burner world alight with inspiration. Let’s get behind this and get it to burn bright!
To show your support for the AfrikaBurn Fire Collective, please check out their Indiegogo and consider making a donation – you’ll be showered with dusty charcoal hugs and kisses!
(photos: Eric Nathan)

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