AfrikaBurn 2023: 24 to 30 April

The Tale of Red Dust

Photo courtesy of: Christiaan Barnard Photography

4am. Late April. It is dark. It is cold. A chill wind from the north conjures dusty ghosts that groan and whisper across the Playa. A crescent moon hangs like a cheap neon sign in the Tankwa sky. A pair of virgin burners huddle together against the icy gusts and redouble their pace, desperately searching for the Binnekring. And then 7ish. And then home. “It is this way, isn’t it? It was all so easy in the daylight. Is that the outline of Tafelberg over there? But…but it can’t be. We’re going the wrong way again. I think.” The wind cranks up another notch. The burners shiver in their thin leggings and skimpy tops. No way can it be so cold. This is fucking ridiculous. For the first time, they feel the fear. They trudge on. Nothing seems familiar.
But as their spirits reach their lowest point, as despair takes hold, out of the gloom they hear a low and menacing growl. And then following the growl – a shape. They are saved! For it is none other than the legendary Red Dust, bike and sidecar extraordinaire, a twisted mutant creation from the mad cackling blacksmiths of Camp Anvil, her suspension forged in the dread fires of Salt River to tackle the toughest Tankwa terrain. The frozen newbies pile into the sidecar. The custom gas heating units hiss and gurgle and begin to thaw their bones. The masked rider guns the throttle and Red Dust rides on, for there is work to be done before the dawn. Here they are at the Spirit Train, handing out hand-made craft beer from the two on-board dispensers to the hot and thirsty dancers. There they ride to the pirate ship, to deliver a bewildered trancehead separated from his friends.
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And then the burner virgins are home at their camp on 7ish. Safe and warm with a belly-full of beer. They raise their hands to sketch a wave goodbye, but Red Dust and her masked rider have already disappeared into the night, for there is work to be done before the dawn.

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