Cowboy Metalheads of Botswana

 
 

Yet more evidence of the rich and varied cultures existing in the broad continent of Africa: Although many of us enjoy getting down on the dance floor to a good beat, this small group in Botswana prefers leather and electric guitar riffs. In 2008, South African photographer Frank Marshall accompanied a South African metal band on a one-gig tour of Gaborone, Botswana’s capital. Fusing punk rock fringes and bandanas with cowboy boots, the band members call each other names like “Gunsmoke” and “Demon” however insist that they are not forces of dark influence.

“We try to portray a good figure. We’re trying to be role models. I know rock used to be a hardcore thing but actually it’s something in our heart too,” heavy metal head Gunsmoke said.
“It’s all about brothers in arms. Brothers in metal — we’re there for each other. That’s the way we identify ourselves.”

The metal rock scene is small but fierce in Botswana.

“Bots is known as a small country. People used to think it was a province of south Africa. But if we can stand tall on this family then we can be known as much as the country was unknown.”

Gunsmoke said that although the roots of the music come from afar, their aesthetic is uniquely African – inspired by things such as animal horns in fashion.

“Most of us are in a tribe. The totems are animals. We’ve got the crocodile, lion, hare, rabbit. You name it. It’s part of your culture,” he added.

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as first reported on CNN