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The Heavy Metal Subculture of Botswana

“There’s a competition between them to see who can look the most brutal,” says South African photographer Franck Marshall, who calls his subjects the renegades– ‘an underground minority rebelling against the status quo, redrawing the borders of both Heavy Metal and orthodox culture in Botswana’.

In 2008, South African photographer Frank Marshall accompanied a South African metal band on a one-gig tour of Gaborone, Botswana’s capital. “Dead Demon Rider” “Coffinfeeder” “Arriving at the small nightclub venue where they were to play, I was greeted by leather-clad Botswanan metalheads,” recalls Frank. Said metalheads had given themselves names like “Dead Demon Rider,” “Coffinfeeder,” and “Ishmael Phantom Lord.” “As the metal scene in South Africa is mainly white, I was immediately fascinated and thrilled by the small, tight-knit subculture that had grown up in the country.” “Shoot You In The Back” Marshall returned a year later to make the Botswana metalheads the focus of his photography degree thesis. Marshall would come to call his project Visions of Renegades.

More photos.

“A heavy metal gig here is like a religious ritual among the metallers, they become very, very delighted or even crazy sometimes whenever there is an upcoming gig. They will spend weeks preparing their leather pants, boots and other metal attire – it’s like they are preparing for war!”

See also: Is Metal / (Hard) Rock music un-African?

Heavy Metal identities in Post-Colonial Africa
Book cover “Scream for Me, Africa!” by Edward Banchs

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