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Upcoming Event: AfrikaBurn 2023


To facilitate the development & implementation of effective harm reduction measures to address the negative consequences of drug use within South Africa by providing education & support services within the AfrikaBurn community. Harm reduction is a collection of practical strategies & ideas designed to decrease the health, social, &/or economic consequences of drug use & serve as an alternative to abstinence-based policies & programming. It acknowledges that people who use drugs have a right to use drugs & to use them in a safe manner.

Statement of Need:

History of Corruption in South Africa:

It’s important to clearly state that South Africa's history has been plagued by corruption & misconduct of public officials & enterprises for much of the past 350 years. It is deeply embedded & it will take a concerted effort, over years, not days, to defeat it. Evidence from the 2020/21 Consolidated General Report on national & provincial audit outcomes report of the Auditor-General paints a clear picture of how severe corruption is in South Africa. In 2020-2021 nearby R1.66 Billion ($96 million USD) of what has been declared unauthorized, fruitless & wasteful, & irregular expenditure was simply not dealt with. Perhaps the most concerning finding relates to the lack of action by government departments on matters of corruption, even after being presented with audits. Despite ongoing anti-corruption efforts in South Africa, the Auditor-General states that the evidence shows that for the most part no consequences are being taken against transgressors. Without accountability, there is no easy solution to the problem.

Corruption within Management of Substance Abuse Campaigns:

Like most African societies, significant funding for research on drug-related issues is limited resulting in a substantial lack of information about illicit drugs & treatment success. This has been worsened by lack of funding from corruption & embezzlement. A 2021 study presented in 2021 titled “Validating the Implementation of Substance Abuse Policy In South Africa” revealed the limited success of substance abuse policies; poor intergovernmental policy implementation; a paucity of qualified human resources & politics & corruption serving as stumbling blocks to proper policy implementation. Political & power dynamics have been found to also serve as stumbling blocks to the success of the anti-substance abuse policies in South Africa. Corruption & misuse of project funds among leaders & line managers have facilitated the increase in drug trafficking in South Africa. Diverse pieces of literature have revealed that South Africa is burdened by the prolific theft of project funds, which delays the progress & effectiveness of substance abuse policies (Hlongwane, 2018).

Political & power dynamics were found to be significant stumbling blocks in the implementation of substance abuse policies in South Africa. Corruption & embezzlement among high-ranking officials in the government have allowed increased drug trafficking within South Africa. The power dynamics appear to have adversely affected the allocation of funds meant to address substance abuse. The participants’ responses presented here under attest to the foregoing assertion.

“The level of corruption from national, provincial to local levels has a huge impact on the implementation of programmes against substance abuse. Despite budgetary allocation, the money never reaches where it is meant to be used”. “It is always easy to blame practitioners on the ground but honestly we operate without budget to deliver proper interventions, because we don’t receive any funds. Hence, we just do unplanned awareness campaigns”.

These responses indicate why South Africa is not winning the war against substance abuse & that corruption & the embezzlement of funds interfere with the allocation of funds to successfully imple-ment substance abuse campaigns.

Research relating to the nature & extent of use of drugs other than alcohol & tobacco among the general adult population in South Africa is virtually non-existent. Public concern & pressure for action in respect of illicit drugs have been increasing, but to date, the South African government has no agency that provides sustained funding to specifically support research projects studying illegal drug use.

AfrikaBurn FAQ:

What is Burning Man:

Honestly, trying to describe what Burning Man is & put that into words is incredibly difficult. On their website it says “Guided by the values expressed by the 10 Principles, Burning Man is a global ecosystem of artists, makers, & community organizers who co-create art, events, & local initiatives around the world. Most recognizably, tens of thousands of Burners gather annually to build Black Rock City, a participative temporary metropolis in the Nevada desert.” Click Here to visit the official Burning Man website.

What is AfrikaBurn:

In short, AfrikaBurn is an official Burning Man regional event, held at Quaggafontein in the Tankwa Karoo, in the Western Cape Province of South Africa. The event is a community of participants who come together to create art, costume, performance, Theme Camps, music, Mutant Vehicles & much, much more. All of this is created through a volunteer & gifting culture.

Regional Events vs. Burning Man:

Similar to The Burn held in Black Rock Desert, regional burns celebrate & highlight art, encourage engagement & gifting, while bringing Burning Man principles & culture into their local communities. AfrikaBurn has been the largest regional burn in the world for over a decade.

What are the 10 Principles of Burning Man:

Radical Inclusion, Gifting, Decommodification, Radical, Self-Reliance, Radical Self-Expression, Communal Effort, Civic Responsibility, Leaving No Trace, Participation & Immediacy. Click Here to read more about the principles.

How many people are expected to attend:

More than 9,000 have already been sold, with general ticket sales selling out in under 5 minutes.

How much do tickets cost:

  • *SOLD OUT* General Sale R2,499 = $140.00 USD - 6,500 tickets

  • Mayday R2,499 = $140.00 USD - 1,000 donation based tickets, available until March 9th, or until they sell out. This is not a VIP ticket.

  • Vehicle Pass (Cars & Trucks): R299 = $17.00 - unlimited, no end date

  • Vehicle Pass (RV/Camper Van/People Carrier): R499 = $29.00 - unlimited, no end date

Click Here to read more about ticket sales, availability, refunds, accessibility & more.

Vital volunteer roles at AfrikaBurn:

There’s many areas needing assistance, but there’s three major areas which are the DPW, Ranges, & Sanctuary. To learn more & to learn how to apply to volunteer directly with AfrikaBurn, Click Here. These opportunities are not affiliated with Harm Reduction Circle.

  • Department of Public Works (DPW): Everything from the toilets to the road signs, street lights, operations center, signage, gate, booths & crews etc. You name it, they’ve had their hands on it!

  • Rangers: The safety & well-being of the AfrikaBurn community is in the hands of the Rangers (also known as The Orange). They act as non-confrontational community mediators, providers of reliable information, facilitators of public safety, & promoters of the 11 guiding principles upon which AfrikaBurn is based. Throughout the event, Rangers work within 1 or more of the 6 organizational roles that make up the Rangers. These roles include:

    • Dust Rangers form the core of all Ranger services. These Rangers walk around, talk to people, visit, interact with AfrikaBurn & all its art, advocate for the 11 Principles, & apply them with compassion where & if needed. These Rangers are the eyes & ears for the whole Ranger crew.

    • Green Dot Rangers specialize in helping participants through difficult situations that have a strong emotional or internal component. Green Dots are patient listeners who seek to hold space for participants undergoing inner transformation or experiencing internal or emotional distress.

    • Fire Perimeter supports burning art projects by managing a perimeter between participants & open flame. They work closely with the artists & Fire Safety to organize, train, & deploy Rangers around a burn site.

    • Dust Leads offer knowledgeable & experienced support in the field for other Rangers by offering face to face advice, backup, & coordination support.

    • Shift Leads supporting Rangers during their shifts. At Ranger Headquarters, Tortoise – the call sign for Shift Leads – monitors the Ranger radio channels. When needed, they secure resources to support situations and communicate with other departments to ensure timely response to incidents.

    • Ranger One is a very special role for seriously experienced & capable Rangers. As the top Ranger on duty, they advise the Shift Leads on complex issues & work with other departments to deliver the best response possible to difficult community situations.

  • Sanctuary: Sanctuary offers a safe & supportive space at Off Centre Camp between Medics & Ranger HQ, to regain balance through peer support & practical help with wellbeing like rest, refreshments & care. Sanctuary also works with the operations team to put prevention strategies in place to reduce future community challenges & acts as a place of safety where anyone having challenging experiences in the dust (& at our events elsewhere) are able to be helped. Radical self-reliance when things get hectic can look like leaning on camp mates, neighbors & friends, asking for help, & figuring out ways to prevent common challenges before they happen. Sanctuary, created by both the org & the community as a gift of support. Sanctuary is make up of 5 unique roles:

    • Tangle (Cuddlefish) offer peer support

    • HarbourMaster are the shift lead

    • Space-Keeper are the zen wrangler

    • Door-Keeper are there to greet at the entrance

    • Green Dots (Sanctuary) are our mobile Sanctuary crew who are there to catch you if you wobble out in the wilds. Green Dots cruise the dust keeping an eye out for participants who are lost or overwhelmed by their experiences or environment. They are there to provide the TLC or guidance needed to find the right direction home. Other participants who may be in need of more professionalized support can be chaperoned over to Medics & Sanctuary where the community care team offers a calm space, counseling &/or medical care if required. In order to volunteer as a Green Dot, you’d need to train up as a Ranger first.

More Information on How to Get Involved is Coming Soon!

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