AfrikaBurn to the 1%: Keep Your VIP-ness In Your Pants

Burning Man has spread to South Africa, and with it have also come problems of privilege.

Much has been said about how rich fans of Nevada's Burning Man buy exclusive comforts that set them apart from the commoners. Granted, nobody who can afford to attend a Burn is impoverished – either they have disposable income or know those who do – but the scale of obnoxious display of wealth exclusively for the few has gotten out of hand. Self-reliance, a key feature in how Burning Man works, is subverted when the filthy rich bring in portable mansions and their accompanying servants. The whole purpose of Burning Man is to rend asunder the barriers that separate us, not recreate them in the desert. Rather than waving it around in front of everyone, popular sentiment is that the 1% should keep their VIP-ness in their designer shorts.

AfrikaBurn has come to the similar conclusion with some people sending their minions to claim the best turf. From the AfrikaBurn website:

“Over the past few years, there’s been a trend for large-scale camps to have tent companies arrive early and set up those glorious large stretch tents on the best patches – but the occupants would only rock up much later in the week. Not ayoba: it’s been a point of contention, and we’ve sat and looked at it for 2 years now. It’s safe to say that the days of tent companies arriving early and grabbing all the best real estate in Tankwa Town for people who arrive late in the week are officially over, as we tweak the way we do things to enable radical self-reliance as much as possible.”

It is fantastic to see our South African siblings keeping the spirit of Burning Man, even as a minority enthusiastically seeks to undermine it. Keep Ubuntu Alive!

AfrikaBurn 2016 will run from April 26-May 1. The theme this year is X (Ten). To learn more about AfrikaBurn, click here.

Photo: AfrikaBurn website

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