Afrika Burn - The Lamp.
Updated: Mar 8
The Lamp (aka 'The Clan') quickly became my favourite structure in the dessert. Not only was it in prime position for watching the sunset it seemed to stand out dramatically amongst the rest of the dessert scape.
I watched an incredible sunset from the Lamp with five friends on one of the first nights - a silver - mirror - van pulled up started playing some tunes as the sun disappeared in the distance - rapidly attracting a small crowd. We all danced, and the crowd called out waving their hands in the air as the sky transitioned in colour. It was magical, and I felt like I was surrounded by so much joy.
The next day some of us returned to the lamp and whilst I was walking around the bottom of it I looked up into the giant pink lampshade admiring its internal structure. A man tapped me lightly on the arm and said 'pull the switch' pointing at a long dangling rope hanging from the top. I looked embarrassed and said 'no, I can't do that' - and he assured me I can and that it was a 'working lamp'. I nervously went and tugged on the cord, and ON went the lights at the top! I smiled in slight disbelief and he turned to me with big brown bright eyes, giving me a look I will never forget and said 'Welcome to the clan', handing me a sticker of the clan logo. It turned out he was part of the team that built the lamp. It was a dream - like moment. One I will always remember. A moment of feeling entirely present, as if everything and everyone stopped in time around me, and just this sentimental smile on this mans face of kindness and belonging was left.
Later in the week my man and I went, sat and enjoyed a sunset at the lamp again. We watched the desert world go by - the people, the mutant vehicles, the fluffy bikes the pink tinged clouds - gentle hums of joy carried across the wind in the distance. Dashes of colour were dotted around everywhere you looked in the arid landscape.
I actually felt a bit sad when the Burn of the Lamp took place. Although the tribal fire - dancing ceremony before hand was a real good send off for it, part of me didn't want it to go. I felt emotional, the dessert looked wrong without it. Like something was missing.
The lamp held stories and secrets, tales and smiles, love and laughter and just like that it was a beautiful memory.