Look, you’re doomed if you do and doomed if you don’t.
AfrikaBurn is a serious vibe, and many of those who head to the Tankwa will tell you that it’s a life-changing experience.
Take a look at our favourite pics from this year HERE, maybe you’ll agree.
But what about those who are left behind, those who must navigate the week from within the confines of normal society?
Enter Matthew Barge [not the person in the photo up top], who has written a post on Medium titled “I DID NOT GO TO AFRIKABURN: A Survivor’s Tale“.
Deep breath, everyone, and now engage your sense of humour.
All images from THIS Africa Geographic story.
Let’s start with Day 1:
Things seem ok today, but I know it is just because its Monday and only a handful of the most committed burners are there already, the rest waiting so as to take less precious leave days. Once you hit the desert you are truly free, but before then you are still caught in the yoke of the man and his demand that you work 240 days a year.
I walk the streets, despondent. I hardly recognize these streets. Sure, they’re 99.94% the same, but that guy who usually unicycles to work on Main Road is gone and I am shook. I know he is in a better place, but us left behind are robbed of the joy of seeing him almost get hit by a car every day. I am getting strange looks for observing tutu Tuesday. If I were at the burn no one would bat an eye at a 32 year old man shirtless in a tutu, but here at the Mowbray KFC I get glances as if I am insane.
I am not sure I will survive the week. What kind of a cruel world is this? In the Tankwa people accept the natural beauty of the naked human form, but in this dysfunctional default world it is considered “inappropriate” or “illegal” to be nude at a 11am Ster-Kinekor screening of The Fast & The Furious 8. SMH. So instead I pace up and down my living room, naked and high on mushrooms, trying to astral travel to the burn, but the psychic trauma of being left behind inhibits my spirit and I end up crying while watching old episodes of Frasier.
Day 4 – we’re going to start summarising now as the wheels come off:
I am getting despondent — store clerks keep cruelly asking for money in return for goods! It seems impossible that such an archaic system can exist in the week of the burn! But no matter my protestations Shelly at Pick n Pay will not accept my gift of pre-rolled cigarettes in return for the FutureLife cereal I so need!
…Back in Cape Town the police do not even try to understand this, they just remove me from outside of the Clarinus UCT Woman’s Residence. Pigs! We humans are perfectly capable of regulating our own behavior even if we have drunk too much rum punch! It is absurd that we require a police force, we humans are free and our spirit cannot be contained!
I am in my tutu again. I have eaten nothing but pre-made stews for 4 days and I am weak with hunger — usually this is perfectly sufficient at Afrikaburn where my diet would be supplemented by brownies from kindly nude septuagenarians and pancakes at dawn, but here on the streets of Bree and Loop I go hungry. Clarkes also does not believe in the gifting economy, and my handfuls of necklaces with Africa pendants are worthless here. I start a fire in the parking lot of Canal Walk and it is glorious! The heat of the flames intensify as a nearby Toyota Avanza catches alight and through the warm on my cheeks I can almost feel the kisses of all my comrades at the burn!
…At least, this is what I tell Sergeant Conradie of the Milnerton Police Department, but he is unmoved by my words.
These fools think they have caged me, but truly I am the free one, and they are trapped in their crumbling world ruled by money and order, where all creativity is quashed and mankind is a shadow of what it could be! I am content in my tiny cell, they cannot break me!
…The flames burned my retinas and they have grown back anew, with the ability to comprehend the 300km to afrikaburn as nothing more than a window pane, and now I dance with my comrades around the binnekring. I watch with tears in my eyes as they burn the statue of an obese Donald Trump, as the flames consume the giant McDonald’s arches, as fire engulfs the straw gorilla symbolizing the death of the innocent Harambe.
You had to go full Harambe, bro.
Ah the comedown begins. I am still connected with my fellow Burners and I feel them as they begin to leave the desert. I feel the terrible withdrawal with them, but still envy them, because I have the withdrawal without having even been to the burn. As they leave the Karoo, so do I leave the confines of the Milnerton Police Station.
The Burners will have to dust off their wallets and return to this cruel fiat money system, just as my parents had to part with their worthless paper to cover my bail. As I walk into the cool Cape air, I realize that the Burn is over and I missed it. But I survived! It can be done, I don’t have to go to Afrikaburn. I had not thought this possible, but I managed to invoke the spirit of the Burn from afar!
Thanks to my stubborn insistence at disobeying the rules of the regular world and my ingestion of near lethal doses of MDMA, 2CB, LSD, MDA and PCP I was able to pierce the veil of reality and I managed to turn the default world into AFRIKABURN! With this power, I will be akin to a god! But for now, I must sleep. I need to prepare my body for tomorrow morning the deluge of photos will begin and Facebook will never be the same again.
If you made it this far I’ll assume you didn’t suffer a sense of humour failure, so let’s all join hands and thank Matthew for sharing his harrowing tale of surviving not going to the ‘Burn this year.
Thank you, Matthew, and namaste to all.
You can read his full post over on Medium HERE.
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