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Photo: Hennie Niemand


AfrikaBurn is founded on a process that is shared through an international network with specific adaptations for South Africa’s unique social and cultural context, and complexity. It is a participant-created movement, an experiment in inclusive community building; decommodification; creativity; self-reliance and radical self-expression, a chance to invent the world anew.

International | Rural | Urban

Since inception, AfrikaBurn’s flagship event in the Tankwa Karoo has enjoyed rapid growth, both in size of participation and in terms of the visibility it has generated nationally and internationally. Over the previous three events (2017-2019) it attained a participation averaging 12,000 with 40% international participation, 40% Western Cape participation and 20% from other South African provinces, it is a platform for innovative art and expression of all disciplines and genres.

Based for many years in Observatory and now in neighbouring Salt River, it’s outward facing urban iteration of the desert experiment in the city, actualised as a one day free art festival, Streetopia has, by flooding the street with art, has helped to build a safer street culture and has become a City of Cape Town “Special Event”. With Arts and Culture Grant-In-Aid funding in 2019, AfrikaBurn incubated the performance works of marginalized arts collectives (formal and informal) from communities including: Hanover Park, Langa, Masiphumelele, Khayelitsha.


One of AfrikaBurn’s greatest yet not so visible success stories in recent years has been the inclusive skills development programme of AfrikaBurn’s Department of Public Works (DPW), the arts event production crew led by a Hammer Council that spend up to 10 weeks in the desert building and then striking the temporary city of art. It provides a training and skills empowerment process that involves work-shadowing, team building and coaching support for young emerging and marginalised creatives and artisans. It also incorporates training in diversity, positionality, gender and consent. Many of DPW are young women, the most recent iteration of the crew was led by 3 women (and 1 man), who by virtue of the activities and tasks involving the regular use of power tools disrupt gender norms. Many of the crew have also been jobbing artists with partner organisations and projects such as Cape Town Carnival and eMzantsi Carnival, and come from marginalised communities across the city.

So What?

We’re in the process of developing a pilot project, in the form of of an urban Hammer School, bringing key elements from the DPW desert experience to the City in order to transfer a variety of hard skills and soft skills to youth in the Cape Town metropole – development that builds resilience, togetherness and empower self-reliance in a radically changed social and economic climate in a COVID and post-COVID world.
Image by hosny salah from Pixabay

Upcoming Classes and workshops


In this workshop we explore how to imagine an artwork.


In this workshop you will explore the endless options of reusing and upcycling materials. Bring some materials from your recycling bin at home and we will explore the possibilities.


In this workshop you will learn how to make the sparks NOT fly, we will touch on some basic electrics skills.


In this workshop we will explore the basic principles of metal work and how to revive those old bits of steel.


In this workshop we will look at the basic principles of carpentry and how to work with upcycled and recycled timber.


In this workshop we will learn about the elements involved in installing an artwork in varied settings.