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Gifting is one of the 11 Guiding Principles Burners strive to follow.

Gifting illustration by Ilse Erasmus

A gift is offered unconditionally, without expectation of anything in return. It can be big or it can be small, but its impact depends on you.

If you're stuck about what to bring as a gift to AfrikaBurn, remember that the best gifts are not things. The best gifts are about creating moments of magic out there in the dust. A lasting memory to take back into the default world with you to remind you of the beauty of the burn.

Some advice for virgin burners: Don't stress about what you are going to bring to gift your first year! Just bring yourself, be present, if you can lend a hand - do. If you see a small way that you can make someone's day - DO IT! PARTICIPATE! Sign up for a few volunteer shifts, it's incredibly rewarding to be part of making the burn happen, we are participant-driven, and as you learn what you love about AfrikaBurn, so ideas for gifts will come to you.

When gifting out there in the dust remember the other principles. Think about the repercussions of your gift once it has been given - yes beaded necklaces are nice, but what if the string snaps? Tiny beads are a MOOP disaster! If you're gifting, say, orange slices; what happens to the peels once the people are done? In a world full of trinkets, perhaps rather consider the gift of your time, labour, love or assistance. Maybe something pragmatic like a plaster or some iced water on a hot day, an experience, a game, a song, or simply accepting and acknowledging another's existence.

If you are gifting any foodstuff, inform the receiver of the ingredients (food allergies are real). If you've added a little something special into your gift - TELL THEM! Do not assume that everyone wants that alcohol or other enhancement in their day, CONSENT is key, always. Be completely open and transparent as to what your gift contains so that the person receiving the gift can make an informed decision.

Some baked treats from the Grease Monkeys - a lovely gift, but be sure to check if the muffins have any chain lube or rubber added to them before snacking. Image: Rob Erasmus

Remember that as much as you are free to offer a gift, the recipient is free to either accept, or decline the gift. Be gracious about refusal and offer your gift to someone else!

More reading on gifting:

Tips & Tricks #6 “Gifting”

Does Gifting make the Playa less lonely?

A Guide to Gifting, Givers and Gratitude