AfrikaBurn 2024: 29 April to 5 May

The Dignity Project – Bringing The Burn Alive

In November 2017, at the free non-profit Streetopia event that our team stages in Observatory, Cape Town (the hood that’s been our organisation’s home since 2007), we erected two toilet prototypes. These were designed and built in consultation with a sanitation engineer from the AfrikaBurn community, and were trialled at Streetopia to give our team a sense of how robust they could be, under heavy use. The exercise also provided our Throne Crew (ie: the toilet crew) with an opportunity to erect, install and dismantle the units as a way of getting to know the units better, before deploying 160 of them at our main annual AfrikaBurn event for the first time in April 2018.

The two prototype toilet units were a great success, and went on the become the standard units that participants at our main annual event have become familiar with in Tankwa Town. Made of 98% recycled materials and using an organic fruit oil mixture that remediates the contents of the toilet tank whilst keeping flies at bay, the unit’s design and components have now been signed off by the City of Cape Town for public use. This has enabled two units to be installed on Station Road that have become a welcome feature in Observatory, as they’ve helped to alleviate the issue of providing sanitation to those who need it on the streets. In achieving this, our team has been helped immensely by the Observatory Improvement District (OBSID).  
The installation of these two pilot project toilet units marked the start of The Dignity Project.

Since then, The Dignity Project has been ramped up as a result of the urgencies created by the Covid-19 pandemic. In addition to toilets, and in collaboration with Woodstock-based Maker Station, Wash Station units have also been designed and built, and these have been filled with water by the same fire safety team that transports water at our main event in the Tankwa Karoo – another example of members of our wider event team bringing their skills to life outside of our event.

Like the toilets, the Wash Stations have also been approved by the City of Cape Town, and the members of our team working on deploying The Dignity Project units have been issued with permits in order to operate and travel as designated Essential Service Workers.
Both the Wash Stations and toilets are being provided for homeless folks to use, so that they have a way of staying healthy at a time when it’s a critical way of keeping yourself safe (but one in which they don’t have regular access to flushing toilets or running water).

We’d like to thank everyone involved in helping us to get this project off the ground and rolling out:
– Amanda Kirk and her team at the Observatory Improvement District (OBSID)
– Rob Erasmus and Kim Ribeira from Enviro Wildfire
DPW members Kristy Derbyshire and Luke Armstrong and the fabrication team Juandre
   Hermanson, Leesham Stringer and Anthony Finlay
– Felix Holm and all at Maker Station in Woodstock
– All on our team
The Dignity Project is doing really great work out there, right now, where it’s needed most. And what do you call that? We call that damn fine humans, is what.
Are you as impressed as we are by the teamwork and skills that have been brought together – and the AfrikaBurn community spirit of Civic Responsibility that’s being brought alive – through the Dignity Project?
If you are, please consider making a donation, so that our team are able to build and deploy more toilet and wash units to the street folk of Cape Town when they need it most, over on The Dignity Project’s fundraiser page.
UPDATE: we’ve got more news on the progress of The Dignity Project, which you can check out here.

For updates on the progress of The Dignity Project, head over to the Facebook page and give it a Like and a Share, thanks!

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