We’ve got a big announcement to make – and it relates to the principle of Radical Inclusion. We’re making an adjustment to it – and you can read more about how & why below – and from here on out, this is is how it will read amongst the other 11 principles we list on our Guiding Principles page:
Everyone should be able to be a part of AfrikaBurn. As an intentional community, committed to inventing the world anew, we actively pursue mechanisms to address imbalances and overcome barriers to participation, especially in light of past, current and systemic injustice.
We welcome and respect the stranger. Anyone can belong.
Since the earliest days of AfrikaBurn, and the adoption of the 10 principles that Burning Man co-founder Larry Harvey wrote down for the time in 2004 (specifically in response to the growth and proliferation of Regional burns around the world, as a means for those, and the Burning Man community in general, to have some form of guiding concepts), one of them has rubbed up against the reality that we experience daily in South Africa: Radical Inclusion.
By virtue of being in South Africa (the most unequal country in the world) where about 85% of the population is considered marginalised, we recognise our challenge around Radical Inclusion is significantly different to the majority of the Burnivese. AfrikaBurn is very much against tokenistic approaches to honouring the principle and as such we’ve got a variety of mechanisms that have grown up and evolved since inception, that are helping to lower the barriers to participation. As a community we still have a long long way to go.
Since our event began, members of our team have been involved in face-to-face engagements and this attention has shifted focus towards marginalised and fringe communities where we’ve had opportunities to connect through creative endeavors. We actively seek out creative groups like cultural centres, shack theatres and music groups in peri-urban communities. With a multilingual, self-described ‘Blippie’ (Black Hippie) – now on board with our public facing team, we can better connect, deepen our engagement and reflect back the community we seek to become, with new participators.
The backbone of our event focussed inclusion work is creating greater accessibility to Tankwa Town through discounted tickets. ‘Low Income’ in South Africa is a relative term and reflects the reality that many people live on or below the breadline. We’ve offered these tickets (which are now named Anathi tickets) for about eight years now, which are tickets at approx 10% of the cost of a General Sale ticket. These are often coupled with Access Grants (transport to the event and welfare, for camping equipment and food). In tandem with these means of access, our team actively encourage and challenge project crews to reach out and make their own circle bigger and more diverse, through all our communications – to join the IllumAnathi.
To this end, our Creative Grant adjudication process also has social development / cohesion/ doing good shit in the world beyond the Burn built into the evaluation criteria, and has a higher weighting than other criteria. If there is an element of reaching beyond one’s social network groups or comfort zones built into a project’s plan, there is more chance of getting funding. And it’s just the right thing to do.
The following are mechanisms that our team has set up to bring the idea of Inclusion alive:
For more supporting information, and documentation, please see our Inclusivity Guide.
‘Everyone should’ – we are open to all but recognise that we might not be reaching everyone who might be interested in AfrikaBurn and that it is not for everyone.
‘Intentional community’ – planned to have a strong sense of social cohesion and teamwork by people who hold the guiding principles.
‘Imbalances’ – resulting from structural inequality where a category or categories of people are attributed an unequal status in relation to others, which creates impacts of unequal opportunities, rights, and agency.
‘Barriers to participation’ – not having the moola is only one barrier, there are many other factors that limit agency including: personal networks, resources, access to information.
‘Systemic injustice’ – the institution and maintenance of socio-economic systems that reward the privileged and obstruct the vulnerable, resulting in social ills including: poverty, unequal opportunities to education or economic mobility, racial profiling, access to resources etc; that exist to rationalise and uphold white privilege and power that may not be visible to those they support but are acutely felt by those they marginalise.
‘Stranger’ – friend we’ve not met yet, and that within ourselves.
Links to existing Inclusion conversations of our website: