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      Botswana's Cowboy Metalheads

      By Frank Marshall

      April 1, 2011
      From the column 'Atlas Hoods'

      "The Time To Kill Is Now (Trooper)"

      Love it or hate it, when most people think of metal, they think of white dudes. Even if metal was born from the blues and there are growing scenes in places like Indonesia and Peru, metal's founding fathers--Priest, Sabbath, Maiden--and most of those who've come after have been unmistakably Caucasian. Which is why I was pleasantly surprised to find out about a small but passionate collection of guys who dressed like doomsday cowboys and listened to Motorhead in the predominantly black, central African country of Botswana.


      Spared the civil wars and venal dictatorships that scar much of Africa, in its own quiet way the Republic is something of an African success story. 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"
      "Dead Demon Rider"


      "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. An exhibition of his photographs will be held at Johannesburg’s discerning, avant-garde Brooke Gallery in July.


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