In December 2015, Spanish photographer and filmmaker Pep Bonet, who has documented the aftermath of war in Sierra Leone and the global ravages of HIV/AIDS, set out for Botswana, in pursuit of a more positive Africa story.
A largely white genre, heavy-metal music has been gaining popularity in countries like South Africa and Kenya, Bonet says, but Botswana is the “pioneer.” At the heart of the scene is the band Overthrust, fronted by a singing, bass-playing cop named Tshomarelo Mosaka. “They don’t mind about color or race,” Bonet told me. “They believe heavy metal unites people.”
Lacking access to store-bought fashions, these local “hellbangers” create their own—embellishing leatherware with rivets, chains, and animal bones. (“Desert Super Power,” below, makes money crafting outfits for fellow metalheads.) “They look very similar, many of them, to the Ace of Spades album cover,” notes Bonet, a big metal fan himself, who is also known for his extensive work with the British band Motörhead. “It’s definitely a lifestyle. They live for this!”
Here is a video from Skinflint, one of the local Botswana bands.