Afrika Burn

Alexander Paone
July 31, 2013

One event I had been looking forward to all semester was Afrika Burn. A friend who spent last spring semester in Cape Town with IES highly recommend that I go to this festival.

Afrika Burn is based off of the annual Burning Man festival in Nevada and is a temporary city of art, theme camps, costume, music and performance. Afrika Burn was located in the Tankwa-Karoo desert, about five hours from Cape Town.

The group of IES students who decided to go began our preparations weeks in advance. We had all heard things about the festival, but none of us really knew what to expect.

Preparations began weeks in advance for Afrika Burn.

We made clothing and costumes, bought camping supplies and preparations, applied copious amounts of henna, and bought enough food to last the weekend in the desert.

The fact that none of us knew what to expect was essentially the entire spirit of the festival and it’s creative atmosphere open to self expression.

Maya and Talia in full dress at Afrika Burn

IES student Tribe at AfrikaBurn

At Afrika Burn monetary currency was given up so the only way to acquire goods was through a barter, trade or giving system.

There were also large structures scattered around the festival and the expansive desert beyond it. Each night, one of the structures would go up in flames along with amazing pyrotechnic, laser and light shows.

One of the many structures scattered around AfrikaBurn and the Tankwa Karoo Desert

The festival is very difficult to explain further, even their website says “For those that have been no explanation is necessary, for those that haven’t none is possible”.

IES students on the move at AfrikaBurn


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Alexander Paone

<p><span style="color: rgb(29, 29, 29); font-family: Arial, Verdana, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal; background-color: rgb(237, 237, 237);">Alex Paone is a junior at the University of Vermont, majoring in Anthropology and double-minoring in African Studies and Geography. He enjoys photography, cooking, hiking and has a passion for travel. Alex is looking forward to calling Cape Town home and also exploring more of Africa beyond Cape Town and South Africa.</span></p>

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