Botswana - Metalheads of the Kalahari
Follow the metal to discover where wild things are
Photos: Eugenie Baccot
Botswana, the southern African country counting roughly two million people, also hosts hundreds of hard rock music fans who raised to great fame. They gathered for the first time seven years ago around Ghanzi, a village in Western Kalahari, an arid desert occupying nearly 70% of the national territory, for the Overthrust Winter Metal Mania Festival.
Everyone is clad in leather hats, chaps, plastic guns and metal studded jackets, inspired by the looks of idols like Iron Maiden or Kiss. These cowboys and cowgirls of the desert swear completely by the music they love, still considered Satanism in the most conservative Christians countries. For these musicians, by and large atheist, it is not a clear representation or title: their love for metal is purely about music and spending every weekend rehearsing in their garages filled with electric guitars and beers.
In Botswana there are fifteen or so metal bands. While some have several recorded albums under their belt, most of them simply emulate their European and American heroes.