Anorak | The White Devil And His Music: The Heavy Metal Subculture of Black Africa

The White Devil And His Music: The Heavy Metal Subculture of Black Africa

by | 3rd, January 2014

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IS HEAVY Metal, the music sound hewn in the British Midlands, big in black, sub-Saharan Africa? South African photographer Franck Marshall found a throbbing pocket of metal in Botswana.

The metallers have cracking names. The chap above calls himself “Death”.

This is “White Devil”:

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The blurb for his gallery exhibition it accompanies his book tells viewers:

Heavy Metal audiences have traditionally been Caucasian, Patriarchal, and Eurocentric, making Marshall’s portraits parodies of heavy metal lore envisaging the multiple polarities of the subculture’s social strata. Renegades is thus a sociological case study of an underground minority rebelling against the status quo, redrawing the borders of both Heavy Metal and orthodox culture in Botswana.

zimbabwe metal headsDead Demon Rider I


Let’s not over analyse. Don’t they just like the music and the fashion? Are they rebelling, or are do the metal heads have more in common with the suburban white kids immersed in US gangster rap?


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The Rooke Gallery blurb then gets worse:

Resultantly, Marshall creates a sense of affirmation for his renegades, specifically exploring impressions of performativity, authenticity and mythology. Marshall decodes the visual rhetoric of his renegades by making apparent the modification and hybridization of a predominantly western subculture in Botswana. The unique topology and physiognomy of each character effectively communicates the spirit imbued by the appearance of Botswana’s often-uninviting Heavy Metal subculture.

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The full horror of the catalogue blurb is here. I’m temped to publish the full thing but it takes so much away from the delightful photographs.

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Posted: 3rd, January 2014 | In: Music Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed: RSS 2.0 | TrackBack | Permalink