Each One, Teach One

Ashby Mccoy
May 11, 2016

Afrikaburn: You are. You build the camps, the art and the mutant vehicles. You’re the performer – and the audience. There’s no ‘them’ – there’s just us, and we’re all in it together. AfrikaBurn is a Burning Man regional event in South Africa, and you don’t ‘attend’ AfrikaBurn - you create it. All you have to do is to participate. AfrikaBurn takes place in the remote and somewhat inhospitable Tankwa Karoo, in the Northern Cape Province.


While political elections are happening stateside, we’ve been feeling a different kind of Burn. As some of us embarked on a five hour long drive through the Karoo Desert, we embarked on the journey of a lifetime. The lesser known and smaller (but better) version of Burning Man in Nevada, Afrikaburn, proved to be an experience like no other. Surviving a sand(ers) storm was just one of the many. Soulful conversations and activities during the day until we transitioned into dancing the night away. This pocket in the middle of the desert is filled with love, freedom, and no judgement. Of just a few of the activities to be done: get a tarot card reading in the Succulent Circle, send a postcard, witness a giant snail or magic carpet swoop across the desert, hop on or off a covered wagon, let the rhythm take over at a silent disco located in a tree sculpture, or watch that sculpture burn at night in the biggest fire you’ve ever witnessed (they don’t call if Afrikaburn for nothing). The feeling of immortality overwhelmed your every fiber as you existed within a Star Wars-like world in a limbo between past and post-apocalyptic time.


Afrikaburn shares the same 10 guiding principles as Burning Man with the addition of one, “Each one, Teach one”, which encourages the sharing of knowledge. “Each one, Teach one” derives from an African proverb. As defined as a founding guideline of Afrikaburn, “As a self-reliant community, we believe the responsibility of spreading our culture lies with each and every one of us. All of us are custodians of our culture – when the opportunity presents itself, we pass knowledge on”. This resonated with me as our time in South Africa is coming to an end, we have learned too much and it is our responsibility and moral duty to take what we’ve gained here and share with those who haven’t have the same opportunity. Stephen King once said “We never know which lives we influence, or when, or why.” If the tiniest shift of tectonic plates can cause a colossal tsunami impacting thousands, think about the ripple effect of influence a drop of knowledge can create.


Ashby Mccoy

<p>Nature lover, adventure seeker, and music enthusiast. Raised on a Northern farm, educated in a Southern city. Self-proclaimed environmentalist with an unyielding admiration for the avocado-eating Resplendent Quetzal. Moto to live by: &quot;Be the change that you wish to see in the world&quot;</p>

2016 Spring
Home University:
College of Charleston
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