AfrikaBurn 2024: 29 April to 5 May

The Countdown Is On…

(words: H, photos: H & Damien Schumann)

An update from your Department of Public Works!

There are currently three countdowns happening in my diary, spreadsheets, notebooks, phone and head:
49 days till the Clan burns…
Which means 22 days before we leave for the desert…
and 51 days till strike (taking things down after the event).

This is my last month in Cape Town before we depart for Tankwa Town in the dark early morning hours, in rentals and on massive trucks, not to return for almost two months. Last week was my last First Thursday for a while (by June’s First Thursday we might not be sitting outside on the pavements anymore and the wine in our glasses will probably turn from crisp white to deep red).


That night after a winetasting at &union – another one of my city luxuries – will be sorely missed; no craft beer on tap or 2011 Pinot Noir from a cooler climate…the beer in our camp is SAB-issued, comes in a man-sized can and it usually served ‘coldish’ – it was remarkable how many people I met or ended up chatting to about AfrikaBurn. It seems the artworks are coming along, the theme camps are getting ready and the excitement is building…

DPW’s hard at work and has been for a while. I’m working on my numerous spreadsheets from the comfort of my bed and enjoying my crisp white linen as often as I can. A month from now we will be shitting in longdrops, my office will be a cooking hot 1970s caravan and we’ll be crawling into dusty sleeping bags at night…


We have been busy at our workspace in Nansen street every weekend, cutting rebar (guess how many pieces of rebar it takes to put up all the structures, signs and lamp posts in Tankwa Town… raffle anyone?) painting signs, fixing tools, trailers, generators, fencing, cleaning tents and packing containers (containers? OMG – insert immense excitement here!).


We have finalised our full time crew, with a good mix of imports and locals both old and new, and are starting to see where and when we will need some short term impact players. Historically the work has been very much carpentry-based, but this year we have also been looking for metal workers, since a lot of the structures from this year forward will be made from steel. Yay heavy lifting crew! Roger (our Construction Boss) likes to remind us that we are, after all, just a moving crew…


By the time everyone starts showing up for the party we would have moved everything from storage, fixed it up, put it back together and moved it onto site / its rightful place. We’ll have serviced and built toilets and moved them onto their holes. We’ll also have the lamp posts in place and working – we’re hoping for a bit more light, without causing too much LOOP (Light out of Place, we just did that…) and moved onto roads and intersections.

We will have seen the sun rise for more than 20 days consecutively… and we’ll certainly have had a few moving experiences and parties!
When you pack your last things as you get ready to depart from Cape Town, feel free to pack a few treats for the crew that has been eagerly setting up and awaiting your arrival. We like whiskey, chocolate, lemon creams, beer and bacon. #justsaying


On that note, here’s a donation wish list from DPW at this stage:
Tea pots– people need their hot comforting drinks and I think it is 100 times better when served in a pretty pot and shared with friends. Necessities, you see?
Coffee plungers – caffeiiiiiiine, an important member of the crew and we need him at his best / strongest.
Pillows / couches / comfy chairs – after a 12-hour day it is nice to not have to sit on the floor or some crate-turned-back-rest-less seat.
A washing machine – oh we do have dreams.
An amp – imagine how insane we would go after 30 days together, with no music… HELP!
Mattresses – similar to pillows / couches / comfy chairs, above, only more important.
A sewing machine – ons wil naai in die woestyn!
Tractors – you never know who has a spare tractor or trailer laying around…

Ag, if you have anything you think might make our stay out there more comfortable, let me know via [email protected].

I hope all your plans are going well, ours are!

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