African Metal

Botswanan metalhead

Botswanan metalhead

I love metal. To me, a metal scene is essential, and the paucity of African metal a cause for sadness. A paucity, however, means that there’s at least some.

So I went looking for some. Here’s what I found.

Botswana: What Bogota, Colombia is to South American punk and metal, Botswana is to African metal. You can tell by this series of pictures of true Botswanan metal heads. Amazing. Overthrust, Skinflint, Wrust and Crackdust keep the scene going.

Vice did a spot on them and Giuseppe Sbrana, lead guitarist and vocalist with the band Skinflint had this to say about their amazing fashion:

the scene’s dress code is ‘old school.’ “A good example of where we get the style from is Motorhead’s Ace Of Spades cover,” he says. “Also many metalheads in Botswana are cowboys from the villages and farms, so they mix the cowboy image with a biker metal look. Many wear hunting knives and parts of dead animals. We drink from the hollowed-out horns of cows.”

Angola: Somebody went to the trouble of making a documentary on not just Angolan metal, but Angolan death metal. Already accustomed to some of the most aggressive dance music on the continent, having been in a civil war for decades, and now rising quickly to be an economic powerhouse, Angola is a perfect breeding ground for metal.

Zambia: Zambia has a deep rock history that I was completely unaware of. Amanaz from 1975 had some killer heavy psych jams.

Cameroonian metal experiment

Cameroon: A dutch artist visited Cameroon and couldn’t find any metal. He then tried to do something about. He convinced some locals to join his metal band and arranged a show. In the end, it didn’t work, but he tried, and even got t-shirts printed.

Mozambique: I’ve heard stories of a metal scene in Maputo. Not surprising since Mozambique likely communicates with sister Portuguese colonies Angola and Brasil. A documentary exists.

Kenya: I knew it had to be true. There is metal in Kenya. Where there is plenty of electricity there will be metal.

Tanzania: This one’s a little bit dubious, but alledgedly there’s a one man black metal act called Giza Uchawi, who released a cassette “Kivuu” back in 2002. Could be a hoax, but who knows?

Uganda: Uganda is the big mystery. Despite a multitude of problems (the LRA, the kill the gays bill), the have gay pride marches and now Veil of Amonition, who count Goatwhore as a an influence.

OK, back to work.

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About Pete Larson

Researcher at the University of Michigan Institute for Social Research. Lecturer in the University of Michigan School of Public Health and at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. I do epidemiology, public health, GIS, health disparities and environmental justice. I also do music and weird stuff.

One response to “African Metal”

  1. stumpwater says :

    FUCK YEAH! I couldn’t even read past the “We drink from the hollowed-out horns of cows.” It was just too much awesomeness all at once. That’s all I needed to get me through another week — I’ll read the rest when I need a booster shot.

    Thank you Botswana and Peter!

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