A lot of you may not know exactly what the AfrikaBurn Bosberaad is. Neither did I.
It’s hard to explain what it is, perhaps easier to explain what it isn’t: It isn’t a group of hippies tripping in a sweatlodge (in fact we held it at Intaka Island in Century City). It isn’t an AGM, but it’s vaguely similar (truth be told, our official AGM is on the 29th of October). It isn’t where we write up the guestlist or thumbsuck the ticket prices for the following year (these are both a budgetary decision). It isn’t some corporate teambuilding package where we all go roleplay and compete in action soccer (weird). It also isn’t where we discuss the ongoing operations of the AfrikaBurn organisation (well, maybe a little). It’s not a place where we all sit around and pat each other on the back either (although we do that quite often all the time). It isn’t a party. It isn’t a disco.
Historically, one of the most famous Bosberaads is said to have been held in the D’nyala Nature Reserve wherein peace talks between F.W. de Klerk and Cyril Ramaphosa brought about the beginnings of the transformation of the “old” South Africa into the Rainbow Nation. As he became president, F.W. de Klerk took his advisors and his cabinet away for a weekend retreat. Thus the D’nyala “Bosberaad” was created; a place to set in place the strategies and policies that would begin the great change that was so desperately needed in South Africa.
Which is exactly what it is for us too. It’s actually where all the people who feel greatly about our culture, principles and the movement, can meet to discuss philosophical differences, concerns, dreams and visions. It’s also a place where a lot of cathartic conversations happen and a lot of passion is injected back into the runaway juggernaut that is AfrikaBurn. Maybe there are a few pats on the back, maybe a few introductions, maybe even a bit of a tiff. It’s our Bosberaad.
It’s where we can consider policy changes, and organisational shifts. It’s a place where we challenge the weaknesses in our organisation. It’s a place where we unpack our ideas, stick them on the wall, and group them into plans. It’s a place where we change the way we think about burner culture, as well as understand it and our role in the local and international burn movement. It’s a meeting in an isolated venue, to break any deadlocks and unpack important matters.
As with every Bosberaad, we take on a facilitator, and push them to their limits with our over-enthusiasm. We sit in a large open room, in a circle, and offer the floor to those who have brought in proposals. We each have a flag, and notepads, and we’re only allowed to engage with the team when our flag is up, and our turn comes round. Yes, oh so very formal, for these crazy folk for whom theatrics and artistry are their whole lives. We go for two (straight) days over a weekend, during which every single person in the room is volunteering their time, energy, and most importantly, wisdom. It’s amazing.
The room is filled with members, directors, invitees and a few substitutes. There are tinkers, tailors, soldiers and shamen, burners, bakers and candlestick-makers. There’s a real wealth of knowledge and experience in the room, people from every walk of life with one thing in common: a concern on behalf of the South African burner community. Every single person would give their hearts, souls, and last few cents to make everything we do (all year round) happen.
What actually happens is hard to say, because it’s a lot. It’s two full days with packed agendas, and tight schedules. We stick to being the crazy creative bunch we all are, and we do things differently for every concern, every policy and every motion that gets something rolling. We tackle hard issues, together, without bias, and as effectively as we (possibly) can. We tackle the tough issues that deserve to be looked at with honesty and some humility. We unpack difficult topics, and deal with their baggage. We plan and plot and push and pull; we change. We invent the world anew.
As we closed off the weekend, there was a feeling of inspiration, and although our bodies were tired, our minds were racing. We all did a great job, it was a comfortable venue, and it was a well-planned out weekend. Our thanks go out to all volunteers, all facilitation, all the members and directors, and each and every person that made space for us to have this meeting.
If you are reading this and wish you had spent your weekend taking part in these discussions, debating these issues and actually really trying to create something unique…
PLEASE get in touch:
*results not guaranteed.
P.S. Helena Sheridan has put up her hand for secretariat of the 2017 Bosberaad with the following agenda items:
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