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Burn AmaDeadly Disco, Burn

by Travis Lyle / 05.06.2009

You’re standing in the middle of a wide, flat plain of baking hot red rock. Next to you is The Wish, a three-storey-high dome constructed out of circles of white-painted marine plywood. A little further off stands a multi-headed effigy, the San Clan, which stands a little higher than The Wish. In the distance you can make out the blue silhouettes of the Cedarberg. It’s midday and 40 degrees in the shade, and there is no shade. In every direction, you are encircled by camps, each of which is different, all presenting a colourful and varied addition to the numerous large and small structures and artworks scattered across the empty centre of a temporary community that goes by the name of Tankwa Town. Population? Around a thousand. Location? Tankwa Karoo, Northern Cape. Yes folks, you’re at AfrikaBurn, South Africa’s own regional Burning Man event.

One of the twenty themed camps at AfrikaBurn 2008, Camp AmaDeadly Disco was the creation of five friends from KZN. Yes OK, I was one of them. We’re all promoters and DJs who will be familiar to punters who have attended NONONO!!!, Lightworkx, Jalarupa and AmaFullThrottle events in that neck of the woods. Die-hards to a man (or woman), we undertook a road trip that eventually ate up some 3400 kilometres of tar and dirt, shredded one tyre and left a few marbles roaming the Karoo. As AfrikaBurn is a Burning Man event, it operates according the Ten Principles of a Burn (see www.afrikaburns.com for more on that), and meant that the AmaDeadlies took every part of their camp with them, from Durban, and took it back once the dust had settled (and been washed out of their hair). Of course the smoke from the burning effigies stays in the atmosphere. Sorry polar bears. The camp itself consisted of a complete (and carpeted) dancefloor, including quadraphonic sound, a DJ booth, chill area and, of course, discoballs and lights. Covered by a 10x20m stretch tent, the aim of the AmaDeadlies was to participate in the event by playing music, and offering their space to all comers. After four days of non-stop music, pyrotechnics, fun and games and self-reliance, we packed up our camp, and in keeping with the ‘leave no trace’ ethos of the event, left nothing more than a few small holes in the ground where the industrial-strength staves once held the tent down.

A few hors d’oeuvres short of a cocktail party, or just plain mad for the jol? That’s a matter of opinion, but one thing’s for sure – we’re doing it again this September out there in the Tankwa Karoo, bigger and better than last year. We just held a fundraiser to spread the word last weekend in the Midlands, and raised some funds to ease the (considerable) cost of this mother of all road trips, consisting of an information session where Burning Man and AfrikaBurn dvd’s and photos were shown, and of course a wild party which kicked on through to dawn.

Participants from KZN are kinda thin on the ground at AfrikaBurn, by virtue of the distance to the event, but if you’re interested in attending Africa’s own Burning Man, or would like to know more, let your fingers do the mousing to the AmaDeadly Facebook Page

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