We all feel the rapid increase in the number of Blazing Swan participants, the increase in media attention and the ever-buzzing interest in official community events.
As a result, heaps of ‘Virgin Blazers’ have joined the community – some come from the doof community which has its own culture, others have been to commercial festivals, some have never been to any kind of festival, let alone a burn. And we welcome each and every one of them!
However questions arise about how we can maintain our unique culture and spirit as a community. How do we introduce our values to newcomers? How do we hold on to our principles?
Even Afrikaburn, the regional burn in Africa, experienced a similar challenge: rapid growth threatened to disrupt the community and dilute its unique character.
Their solution was to add principle XI: Each One Teach One.
They explain: “As a self-reliant community, we believe the responsibility of spreading our culture lies with each and every one of us. All of us are custodians of our culture – when the opportunity presents itself, we pass knowledge on.”
This value has some thick historical and cultural roots. The phrase originated in the US, during slavery when African slaves were denied access to education, including literacy. To undermine this, whenever a slave was taught to read, it became his duty to teach it to another, leading to the birth of “each one teach one”.
EOTO was also applied in the work of Frank Lauback(1884-1970) developed the “Each One Teach One” literacy program to help teach about 60 million people around the world to read in their own language.
So, what about us? What can we do?
1. If you’re brining a Burgin along with you, sit them down and explain the 11 Principles and why they are important to our culture. Give them the opportunity to ask questions.
2. MOOP! It’s easy to blame Burgins for MOOP – so instead to educate them on MOOP and grey water. Or point them to articles on the website.
3. Encourage them to volunteer (communal effort) as a great way to really feel apart (participate) of Blazing Swan and to have fun.
4. If you organised their ticket for them, forward the “Blaze of Our Lives” enewsletter or sign them up so they get their own copy full of goodness.
5. Give them a copy of the Survival Guide! It covers what to bring, what not to bring, what to wear etc. (self-reliance).
6. Take them to Theme camp fundraisers to give them a taste of things to come!
Teaching Burgins beforehand, means they aren’t solely reliant on you once they get there, so you can really enjoy your burn. One of the burgins I introduced to burns along, jumped right in, made signage for our theme camp, joined the rangers and I hardly saw her for the Blaze! She’s now introducing and educating her own burgins.
* adapted from Anat Agamon’s post on Midburn