At my friend Alexis’s house this afternoon, I cast my eyes down towards the window.

“Oh look Lex! Big ants.”

I feel like I’ve tripped and fallen into a Lewis Carroll rabbit hole.

“Yes, Stefan’s,” says Lex.

Cape Town sculptor Stefan Schoeman makes beautiful things out of discarded stuff. His ants are made of wire, old DVD tape and avocado pips. Lex and I are big fans. He also makes incredible sculptures out of plastic flex.

‘What Alice Saw’ is one of 300 colours from the Midas Envirolite Zero VOC range of paints, available from Paint & Place paint shops in South Africa.


My friend Paige Nick showed me these. They make me want to make knit a pair of socks with linguine for Fathers Day, or sculpt a bicycle out of licorice – or something.

The visuals are from Lucky Pony, created originally by Emilie Griottes who runs a food blog called Griottes.

One of 300 colours by Midas Envirolite – Zero VOC paint


Paint Brush is one of 300 colours by Midas Envirolite, Zero VOC paint.

I like collecting paint brushes. And I love having projects lined up so I can do things with them.

It looks like I might soon be in a new house (big yay!) which will usher in a whole new world of joy for my brush collection.

I’m desperate to try a colour clash wall, like the installations by the artist Odili Donald Odita. Not to copy him, but to do something that is clashy and interesting and completely un-square.  I love this example, from his website.

– by Odili Donald Odita


Angel in flex, by Stefan Schoeman

An artist by the name of Stefan Schoeman (who sometimes arrives in our area dressed in a full kilt) works between Kalk Bay and Woodstock, selling his flex sculptures of angels, rhinos, buffalos and things. I had to buy the zombie angel.

Zombie angel is now on my dishrack. It can stay there until I have to wash up after Sunday lunch. Maybe lunch will be more of a success with this presiding over the cook-off.
Angel - one of 300 colours at Paint&Place, available in Midas Envirolite zero voc paint

More by Stefan:






I wonder what Guy Butler would have said about this Karoo jol? If Guy were 20 in 2012, would he have chucked a tent and a sleeping bag into his bakkie and hotfooted it to AfrikaBurn, or would he rather have spent the weekend warming his swivel chair, scribbling poetry and watching thorn trees grow?

Guy Butler’s autobiography

Karoo Morning is another kind of Karoo experience. A real life one; the story of Guy Butler’s childhood. It’s an old book, but whenever I want to read something beautiful and simple, with words that feel like they’re knitted together with wisdom and wit and emotion, I whip this off my shelf. From a time and a place that was as brutal as it was gentle.

Guy Butler and my father’s family came from the same farming clan near Cradock in the Eastern Cape. It’s cool and interesting reading about people whose names I’ve heard my father mention so many times over suppers, they became like diningroom wallpaper.

How Guy Butler writes is beautiful. Especially his endings. Like the last few lines of this chapter.

And this ending:

I am crying from the depths of my being; I am sitting on a train and it is jerking into movement; a lady I hardly know with a lovely face is sitting opposite me, smiling and speaking kind words, but to no avail. Then she stops speaking, purses her lips, and does what no woman has ever done before: she whistles like a bird. I stop crying. My new Aunt Hilda had no further difficulties with me on the long train journey to Louisvale.

From the Paint&Place Zero VOC paint collection.








I said I would, so here you go.

An AfrikaBurn essay in pictures, by Jack Mason. They’re the thousand words that I don’t have to write about the Tankwa Karoo.

With pictures like these, I feel like I actually went. Even though what I really did was four days of solitude, stoking my logfire at home.

It's beautiful how bright colour sings against the sober tones of the veld. 
Colours like these feel like they make an interesting crowd. 
From the Midas Envirolite Zero VOC green paint palette. 
At Paint&Place paint shops in South Africa. 


Photo: Jack Mason /

I told you how badly I couldn’t wait to see the pictures from AfrikaBurn, after spending Burn weekend snuggled up with books and scrabble in my lovely quiet house, in front of the fire, while everyone went exploring in the desert. So I missed all the action, but now I’m getting to see.

What did I miss out on?

For starters, I missed seeing this giant aloe, which looks like it leopard crawled all the way from J-Bay or Graaff-Reinet, snacking on dassies and puff adders as it went along. Have you ever? I mean, have you ever seen an aloe as big as this? It looks like a massive tangerine member of the fungi family unfurling from the desert floor. A full-on, proper, card carrying magic mushroom.

‘Magic Mushroom’ – one of 300 colours from the green Zero VOC palette by Midas Envirolite.
Find it at Paint&Place paint shops in South Africa.


Afraid so.

To put you in the picture; scroll down for the story on AfrikaBurn, from the Cape Times /

Most of my friends and family are doing the Burn this year. I, however, am being otherwise. I’m spending the weekend pottering, writing, reading, trimming the bulbs on my window sill, putting my feet up in my sheepskin slippers, bunny blanket over my knees, burning a few logs in my fireplace. Tonight I’ll catch a movie and a noodle supper close to home. Then I’ll have a lovely hot bath, before slipping into my winter sheets with my hot water bottle, and ploughing through half a new novel. How bad does that sound?

I saw another report in one of the weekend papers, showing a few Burn revellers cloaked in mud (yes, it rained on Tankwa) and decorated like a pair of petit fours on their way to becoming a wedding cake. I know people who have truckloads of fun and love every tequila infused minute of it, who really don’t mind having the smell of braai in their hair or mud in their sleeping bags. But that is them, and this is me. Like the lady says, I love not camping. I’m not good with sticky hair. Or long drops.

But I can’t wait to see it all. I know they’ll come back with amazing photographs, movies and great stories. Then I’ll be right there.

Burning to go to AfrikaBurn?

April 24 2012 at 01:02pm – Xolani Koyana

ct AFRIKABURN-5609 (24832021)

The fear God effigies are on display at the AfrikaBurn Festival until Monday at Stonehenge Farm near Tankwa Karoo National Park on the boundry of the Northern Cape. Photo: Ian Landsberg.

YOU voluntarily assume the risk of serious injury or death. You must bring your own food, water, shelter and first aid to survive a week in a harsh environment. Still wanna go? Then don’t forget to read over the survival guide before you head out there.

This no-nonsense disclaimer has been issued to all those attending the AfrikaBurn Festival which starts tomorrow.

The festival is an annual event where creatives gather a “temporary city of art” to express themselves with costumes, music and performances.

It is held at the Tankwa Karoo National Park on the southern boundary of the Northern Cape and runs from tomorrow until Monday.

“The wording may appear somewhat harsh,” said AfrikaBurn’s Michael Suss yesterday, adding that the disclaimer had always appeared on the ticket and was not a case of having had their fingers burnt before.

“Since this is a participant-created event, we cannot assume legal responsibility for the actions of all those who participate. Our entire philosophy is one of radical self-reliance and responsibility: we believe participants need to act consciously and with care at all times,” said Suss

He said asking people to bring their own food and water was also part of the radical self-reliant approach.

The warning should be seen in the same light.

“This is the same as the Burning Man festival in the USA, on which we are modelled. At our desert venue there is no water supply and no food and, since we are an event based on gifting and no commerce, nowhere to buy any food or water.”

Most of the people who took part in the event offered food and drinks – as gifts – for those who forgot to bring something, Suss said. Although he could not give details, Suss said there had been a few cases where people had required medical attention including an incident where a women had been rushed to hospital after falling off a vehicle which then drove over her by accident.

“We take issues of health and safety really seriously and also have a team of volunteer ‘rangers’ on patrol at the site, overseen by a site manager, all on rotating shifts, throughout the event,”said Suss.

The event is loosely based on the Burning Man festival held annually at the Black Rock Desert in Nevada.

The theme of this year’s festival is Mirage.

My kind of home. Earthy, but not muddy. By Midas Envirolite Zero VOC paints.