“Look at you with your cute little blonde hair and blue eyes, you’re my little Aryan queen aren’t you?” I said in a childish voice that always makes her giggle and her skin blush in the tone of a raw Rosa tomato.
“You’re my little cute master race baby… I love you.” I give her a tight hug and we kiss on the hard desert rock as we’re watched by a gay couple with the names of “Foxy” and “Charlie”.
To be a public freak is a fine art in itself. To become a monstrosity is not exactly a spontaneous act or a whimsical moment of clarity, as most people would think it is.
“Hey, have you ever heard of Burning Man?” My British lady friend asked me as she sat in my lap feeding me pork bangers, runny eggs, Ceylon tea and listening to Mary Ann Hobbes dub plates.
“Isn’t it that trance party in America in the desert where everyone plays in the sand and hippies just fuck each other?”
“Yeah man, that’s the one, well they’re having one here in the Karoo and its called ‘Afrikaburn’ it’s going to be well wicked innit?”
“I guess… I’ve never been to a trance party and I fucking hate hippies.”
“It’s not only trance, there’s loads of different campsites and like different sound systems, innit?”
“Is that a question?”
“Whaa?” Our music always plays loud.
“I’ll see you there then love.” I said. “I’m getting paid soon anyway, so you know its drinky drinky time.”
“Fancy a cup of Pimms, love?”
“Sure… how’s about an EU visa and some yellow babies too?”
“Nothing. You’re amazing!”
I woke up to the sound of Malcolm Gladwell talking about how syphilis spreads quicker in Baltimore because of the vibrant nightlife in the summer. Misha and Lauren were in the front seat soaking up Gladwell’s audio book. I started to think, and quiver in my anus, about the amount of money I had spent on this trip and was about to spend on the ticket. The ticket costs R650 and this does not include anything like food, water or blowjobs – just the ticket and the sand. Afrikaburn says that it’s a non-profit organization and a 100% non-commercial event and that everything done at Afrikaburn is done on a volunteer basis. So basically this means that this is a rich man’s jol because, as we all know, only rich people donate money and contribute towards such “worthy” causes.
As some Jewish rappers in the 80’s once said: “You’ve got to fight, for your right, to party!”
To attend Afrikaburn means that you must own a Land Rover fully equipped with a stretch tent with fully inflatable mattresses and bidets, a Moroccan chef to prepare your hookah pipe and lentil stew and massage your colon after dinner, a portable shower, solar panels (to show off how eco friendly you are), Hurley sunglasses, a portable refrigerator stacked with assorted meats, run flat tires, M60 assault rifle, a silly hat and tons of UB40 and Bob Marley CDs.
“They say here that you need 5 liters a day of water in the Karoo” my girlfriend said.
“I can go for at least 4 days without water… I’m just going to drink, its been done… David said he’s going to try drink all the water just before he leaves, I might do it too.”
The landscape swam in and out of my consciousness as the silver golf drove through vineyards in Worcester, darting past the wind and grape ridden faces of roadside hawkers trying to sell boxes of grapes to cars going at speeds reaching over 140km per hour. Ceres didn’t look like how it does on the juice box. It’s better in real life with all its nature and things… my mind raced with thoughts about how to write about landscapes and travel and instead I just wrote in my note book, “wow, the view is ‘rad’” as I fondled my girlfriend’s thigh and impatiently waited to get to that stretch of desert located somewhere near Calvinia.
It was a grand view, something that would want to make you quote something awful that Bill Bryson would say like: “”It is easy to overlook this thought that life just is. As humans we are inclined to feel that life must have a point.” I don’t even know what that means, but I’m sure it has something to do with looking at majestic views and being one with nature and the universe and all sorts of other esoteric shit I pretend to understand. Afrikaburn is a place where community values and communal living are reintroduced to the modern man. It is where we revert from building shopping malls to building idealized “civilizations” again. Afrikaburn is where they destroy capitalism, apparently. Nothing is for sale except ice… which leaves a passive 2-sided implication that is still vague. One being that we are a community of people who will take care of each other. Or is it everyman for himself, the pure meaning of human nature. Survival of the sickest. The Lord of the Flies.
“Dude, there’s so many fucking children here…and naked people too.” I said to her as I saw kid flying a kite while his naked dad drank a quart of beer.
“I know. its a paedophiles wet dream come alive… children, nudity and seclusion.” My girl said as she took a pee… my back to her, guarding her from perverts.
Soon the red sky skyline was filled with tents and recreational vehicles, diesel carbon monoxide, Green peace, LSD, MDMA, chartered planes flying in and out and a barrage of cars: BMW X5’s from Johannesburg playing Tino Maas and UB40.
“I really want to tie dye this!” She had a whinnying accent that sounded Israeli but she said she was from Morningside Johannesburg and her accent was a product of world travel.
“Oh my gawd, I love going to the bathroom outside, oh my gawd, its beautiful. Haw ah awh ahh!” She had this obtrusive laughter where you aren’t sure if it’s sarcastic, ironic or just morbidly retarded.
“I’ve never painted on canvas in my life. I only paint on the streets. I’m only concerned with human interaction.” Whenever she spoke I sang Chris Brown songs to myself and pictured Ike Turner running on the beach and eating some ice cream. She made the worst coffee ever. 100% organic. I have learnt to never eat anything that says 100% organic. This basically means that it tastes like 100% walrus semen and Rastafarian sweat. Her boyfriend who was trying to steak my interracial swag then went on a long tirade about how he once wore a badge protesting against the use of combs as a silent protest towards his father. I drank a beer and dabbed a pinch of MDMA on my tongue and prayed that they find my body fully clothed if I die in the desert.
“Guys, since were living as a community we have to work together, we must all clean up, cook and help out, OK?”
“Ya, man that’s rad!” In situations like this, most people don’t take stereotypes into consideration. Hippies are fucking lazy. The hippies never cleaned up anything, and they don’t know a single fucking thing about community values, I mean how would you when you grew up in a gated community and you still call your domestic worker your maid?
We managed to scavenge some meat to add to the communal vegetable braai, which irked the hippies.
“OK guys, I’m going to do the dishes but I’m not washing you guys’ dishes cause there’s meat on it. It’s disgusting. Sorry.”
The music was horrible, but I wasn’t expecting much anyway. Honourable mention can only be given to Mix ‘n Blend, Spekta and DJ Pierre, who were the only ones playing amazing music while everyone else was off getting raped to the sounds of things like “hard psy-trance” and “cosmotololigical hybrid Balkan trip tech house step bounce”.
I found Adam Kent Weist in a serious mushroom haze, he looked like a gay Persian sex slave with a grizzly bear stuck inside his ass.
“Montle, I need you to take care of me. I don’t even know what to look at. It’s too much. I’m going to die here.”
“Dude, I saw a china man take a shit right in front of me… he just lifted his kaftan and started to shit…then I saw a girl wipe her ass later. It’s pretty intense.”
“Oh my fucking gawd, I have to change my body clock to start shitting at night then.” He said in his drawled out Kansas Guyanese accent.
“That doesn’t make much difference, they just shine a torch light up your ass anyway.”
“Did I tell you how bi-racial majestic you guys are?”
It was fun for a while, the drinking, the fucking, the drinking, the falling in love, the crying, the popping, the dropping and laughing. But after a while it doesn’t seem to work anymore and I was back at the first step and most vital question. “What the fuck am I doing here?” I let loose all the time, I’ve never needed a cause or a vast desert to discover myself or let off some steam. The greatest revelations of my life have happened in my four cornered room filled with broken mirrors and only lit by a few dwindling candles, and If I feel the urge to burn anything it would probably be myself and my reputation to symbolize the whole process of destroy and rebuild. Gimmicks! They sell really well, reproducing culture as opposed to creating it. Selling freedom at R650 a ticket. I love capitalism, just give me my drugs and take your money and let’s leave all the esoteric veils at home next time we rave in the desert. We can be children any day we want and it shouldn’t have to cost so much. Just take a shit in your pants at work and this will revive your lost inner child without neglecting the needs of your actual children waiting for daddy to stop tripping on acid and take them to school.
*All images © Sydelle Willow Smith.