So here’s the deal: AfrikaBurn is a community of participants guided by a set of principles. They’re the same set of ideals that guide and inform Burning Man (of which AfrikaBurn is a regional event) with the addition of a new one – Each One Teach One – that encourages the sharing of knowledge.
These principles aren’t commandments, and they’re not rules – they’re ideals that offer guidelines to how we as a community can reinvent the world, and ourselves.
Anyone may be a part of AfrikaBurn. We welcome and respect the stranger. No prerequisites exist for participation in our community. This means that anyone can partake.
We are devoted to acts of gift giving. The value of a gift is unconditional. Gifting does not contemplate a return or an exchange for something of equal value.
In order to preserve the spirit of gifting, our community seeks to create social environments that are unmediated by commercial sponsorships, transactions, or advertising. We stand ready to protect our culture from such exploitation. We resist the substitution of consumption for participatory experience.
AfrikaBurn encourages the individual to discover, exercise and rely on his or her inner resources.
Radical self-expression arises from the unique gifts of the individual. No one other than the individual or a collaborating group can determine its content. It is offered as a gift to others. In this spirit, the giver should respect the rights and liberties of the recipient.
Our community values creative cooperation and collaboration. We strive to produce, promote and protect social networks, public spaces, works of art, and methods of communication that support such interaction.
We value civil society. Community members who organise events should assume responsibility for public welfare and endeavor to communicate civic responsibilities to participants. They must also assume responsibility for conducting events in accordance with national and local laws.
Our community respects the environment. We are committed to leaving no physical trace of our activities wherever we gather. We clean up after ourselves and endeavor, whenever possible, to leave such places in a better state than when we found them.
Our community is committed to a radically participatory ethic. We believe that transformative change, whether in the individual or in society, can occur only through the medium of deeply personal participation. We achieve being through doing. Everyone is invited to work. Everyone is invited to play. We make the world real through actions that open the heart.
Immediate experience is, in many ways, the most important value in our culture. We seek to overcome barriers that stand between us and a recognition of our inner selves, the reality of those around us, participation in society, and contact with a natural world exceeding human powers. No idea can substitute for this experience.
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.
We’d really like to get these 11 principles translated into many more languages, including Sesotho, Sesotho sa Leboa, Setswana, Sepedi, and Xitsonga, isiNdebele, Tshivenda and more – if you have any suggestions, or if you’re interested in helping us to make that happen, or know anyone who might be, please get in touch by emailing email@example.com.
Many thanks to Andile Mdakane, Craigieji Makhosi, David Albert Michael Amira, Ryno Smit, Raphaël Ariello, Paula Giusti and Arthur Zuijlen for their assistance in translating the versions you see above!