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Mantis laughs.

In her dream she is walking barefoot across the sands of history. Mother is cooking nyama on the coals, of which there are never enough, but ​​Unkulunkulu has hidden more than a little fire in mankind’s heart. Passionately, she picks up the embers and casts them to the heavens — a sea of lights to guide lost souls through the dark. 

Vistas of vast nothingness and galaxies of infinite improbability, giants dwarfed by supermassive suns, nebulas bursting, binaries colliding, neutrons pulsating, supernovas exploding, exoplanets made of pewter and diamond and rock — all spiralling in an endless cosmic dance. 

Image: Tiaan van Deventer

Nothing beats the night sky — endless expanses filled with limitless possibilities. 

Before fires around which to gather, laugh and dance, we had the stars; the great and glittering reaches. We gazed up at a vista beyond words and reckoning, mystery writ large — and we were in awe. 

Fathomless depth and age beyond reckoning, the field of our birth and all existence, a dance of worlds in a sparkling sea, and we…intimately related, yet marooned on our sphere.

Expansive and beautiful, distant and clear, here we found ourselves, immersed in amazement. And when we danced around flames, we all leapt higher, sparks drifted to the heavens and we felt connected to limitless beauty, dreaming of infinite campfires and a community through time and space.

Countless civilisations circle countless suns.

She is travelling amongst them now, through the sea of stars to the point where it all began. The place where time encourages itself to stop. Light slows and laws break — all is still. She rests for countless aeons.

She bursts again.

Impossible heat, neutrinos, hydrogen, helium, gold — stars and their dust. She is every aspect of the cosmos come to know itself. She is the architect that holds it up. She is Mother Earth, Father Time, the Ein Sof. She has become many for the joy of becoming one. 

Image: Jonx Pillemer

We saw the magic of our world and our myths reflected above, arrayed around us in legendary constellations. And the more we looked and learned the more we found to marvel and delight. Worlds of phosphorous, solar winds, infernal forges and Dyson spheres. 

And the more we imagined what else could be, the wilder it got.

Who else resides in these vast reaches? Are their worlds as wondrous as ours? What creatures fly through sulphur clouds? Who swims in methane seas? Who visits us in friendship? And who else regards our world?

What dimensions lie beyond comprehension? Are we remnants of a techno-galactic civilisation? Or the first to look up and think “Inhle… its beautiful” and “jislaaik maar dis darem lekker”.

The world turns and Mantis laughs.

Far below she senses the distant plane from which she has temporarily escaped; can feel the pull of it calling her back. Gaia’s irresistible green lungs. 

She awakes to a desert heat; the sound of drums. Hui! Geab Hui! Geab, Tankwa Town — and someone is asking her for a sonic  screwdriver and someone is laughing with a new lover and someone’s mother is lost and the music is hopping and the insects are buzzing, izinkanyezi, amidst a constellation of smiling faces, destined to never repeat.

A squad of stormtroopers rolls by on a flying carpet listening to a cantina band about to take a quantum leap, and an anvil is defying gravity, and a pastor is getting married to a purple love machine, and a bug is trying spacejuice just for the novelty, and the quaggas are braying, and the lights are a-popping and we are playing, playing on a living breathing rock turning through inner space — and she, swirling amidst her existence looks down and thinks, isn’t this an oddity?

Image: Chris Leggatt

AfrikaBurn 2023 invites you to embark on a journey through universes, to new worlds, through a glimmering wormhole and out the other side. 

Quaggafontein beckons with a circus in the stars, a field of imagination ripe for navigation and creation. Forge your own wonders, design cosmic delights and play with your weird and alien crew. This horizon beckons you.

Breathe deep the night air, drink the moonlight moonshine. 

Stumble and play on our rocky orb, in the glow of our nearest star. Imagine all you can be and fall in love with all you are.

To the east a blood moon is rising and the Clan is burning. A thousand sparks light up the night sky like fireflies trapped in a glass jar and she thinks, I am where I am and you are where you are and the space between us is not so very far.

A Space Oddity


Spaced out

a space to be free

Breathe in Space

deep space

Watch this space


Looking for some design elements for your project?

Thanks to all the wonderful photographers who shared their AfrikaBurn 2022 images with us that we’ve used above. Credits (In no particular order): The Hippy’s Twisted View, Aidan Cramer, Alistair Mclachlan, Alex Miles, David Gwynne-Evans, Gift Bakkes, Kim Steinberg, Patrick Barylla, Reza Assar, Steven Morrow, Tiann van Deventer, Tom Karpinski (and quite possibly an image from

The Theme Team this year was: Tim Doyle, Isa Marques, Brian Palmer, Ralph Borland, Brad Baard, Vince Clery, Sindy Dondolo, Ilse Erasmus and the Brothers Doyle.

The video at the top of the page was created and kindly shared by Jeanine Jooste

All of the images above are shared via Wikipedia, IMDB and NASA web pages. Please let us know if we’ve used anything in error.

Interested in tickets to AfrikaBurn 2023?

Read the Hitchhikers guide to Quaggafontein