AfrikaBurn 2023: 24 to 30 April


It’s been an eventful week to say the least. As I sit here in Tankwa at our base I am struggling to find where to start.
So here goes…
Firstly, I’d like to introduce James Mader who recently joined our crew. James is the man behind Nothing and SKAAP 1, 2 & 3; previous artworks at the burn. James also worked with Nathan on “O”. James has been working hard with Nathan finalising the plans and getting the measurements and the angles of each integral piece of the puzzle that is SKOP IV.

After erecting two legs and playing around with a rubber hose, hanging off scaffolding, erecting the “arm pits” (that’s the technical term) a job I undertook with Stacie and under the careful supervision of  Chuck. Everything fit and we were happy that we have created a structural masterpiece.
So the decision was made to dismantle what we had created so far, pack it all on a truck and a trailer and head down to Tankwa. A trip that started off with one large truck, an 8 metre trailer, two drivers, 10 crew members, one jeep, two bakkies, one 3 metre trailer and two caravans. However,  not everyone and everything arrived.

The plan was to set off at 8am, James, Chuck, myself and the rest of the crew were there ready at the workshop. Unfortunately at that point there was no sign of Nathan. Nathan eventually got his act together and was ready to depart around 9:15am  (he is the artist after all, so we do make allowances for his tardiness and unconventional approach).
The plan was to set off in convoy, but Nathan needed to fill up with fuel. Chuck and I waited in one of the bakkies with one of the caravans at the pre arranged meeting point, while James went on ahead with a bakkie and the 3 metre trailer. The large lorry and trailer had already left around 8.30am, so we thought it best that someone went ahead.
Thirty minutes later, Chuck and I were still waiting. We decided to turn back and see what the hold up was only to see Nathan walking into the police station. I was instantly concerned that he had been pulled over for an illegal load, as the caravan he was pulling was, well not in the best condition shall we say. Turns out one of our crew members wife’s had been arrested and contacted her husband to come and bail her out. So we bailed the wife out, only to find out that the husband had taken the rap for the alleged crime to save his wife, so then we had to wait and bail him out.
During that time James had returned with the bakkie and the trailer as he had had a puncture 1 km outside of town and now needed to go and get another spare. The problem was the nearest place to get one was Laingsburg (a good 130 km away), so he said he would probably be a bit late and he would see us later.
So eventually after hanging around outside the Sutherland police station, bailing out one of our boys, as they have become family to us. We set off on our way.
The drive was beautiful, there is something magical about the Karoo and I was enjoying for once being the passenger instead of the driver. We meet up with Nathan at his favourite spot on the way, took some photos and set off on the final leg of the journey. Then disaster number three hit us. The caravan that Chuck and I were trailing got a puncture, well by time we stopped there was no tyre, it had disintegrated. So as we had no spare there was nothing to do but to ditch Gypsy 3 our trusted caravan and the one out of the two that I thought would make it there and continue on our way.
We eventually got to site four hours late. We meet up with Monique and Sonica to decide on our placing and started to unload. Bearing in the mind the truck drivers had been waiting for us for over an hour at this point. Loading also took a little longer than expected what with being two crew members down, as James and Ratawin who were travelling together still hadn’t arrived.

The truck drivers left around 5ish, hot tired and ready for their beds. We set up camp and at 7pm went to have dinner only to see the truck drivers had returned, on foot. They had got stuck on their way home and literally had to walk back to the burn site in the raging afternoon heat and high winds to get help. After speaking to the DPW guys they agreed to take the drivers back to their vehicle with their crane truck, pulled them out of the gravel and waved them on their way.
We waited patiently for the arrival of James, only to eventually hear that he had had a second puncture and then his exhaust had fallen off. Which meant having to wait in Sutherland for the local mechanic to fix it. There is still no sign of them and we are hoping he makes it soon, especially since he has the suntan cream and the coffee percolator.
So we are in the beautiful Karoo. We are formulating a plan with the DPW crew to rescue Gypsy 3. Big up to DPW by the way, these guys have been really helpful since we arrived. Even down to providing cups and plates etc as James also has those in the back of his bakkie. We’ve dug a hole, erected a pole and are enjoying the tranquility before the madness of the burn begins. Oh yeah and let’s not forget, we still have a sculpture to make for you guys before then…
So all that could go wrong, did go wrong, and then it rained….
Until the next time.

To read the progress of this project from the start, check out the earlier parts of Lindsay’s updates in Part I and Part II.

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