Meet The Women Of Botswana's Heavy Metal Subculture

South African photographer Paul Shiakallis has produced a series of photos, "Leathered Skins, Unchained Hearts", of the "queens" of Botswana's heavy metal subculture, called "Marok," which translates to "rocker" in Setswana. The portraits were shot in the Gaborone, the capital city, and feature the women as their "queen" alter-egos, going by names like Onalenna Angelovdarkness, Amokian Lordess and Phoenix Tonahs Slaughter.

SKINFLINT, METAL ORIZON, WRUST, CRACKDUST, OVERTHRUST and AMOK are some of Botswana's biggest metal bands, but since the Marok scene is very small, they only play shows every few months. "When they do have a show, rockers from all around Botswana make the effort to show up, even if they have to travel 700km from another town," Shiakallis told Hyperallergic.

Shiakallis added that "every portrait I took almost never happened. Sometimes, the queens' boyfriends or husbands would thwart the shoots" since they didn't want their partners to be photographed by, or even in the presence of, another male. "Some queens were reluctant to pose for photographs, wary about where the images would end up, as they're still 'coming out' as rockers."

Check out all the photos at PaulShiakallis.com.

"Metal is a music about power, independence and freedom," Giuseppe Sbrana, singer of the band SKINFLINT, told CNN. "That's what I believe in — fighting for what you believe in no matter the consequences. Standing up for what you believe in and showing individuality."

Another South African photographer, Frank Marshall, who captured Botswana's rockers in all their Hell's Angels-style glory as part of his "Renegades" series of portraits, told CNN: "Metal was seeded here [in Botswana] by a classic rock band that started in the early '70s. Since then, it's evolved and grown. In the last 10 to 20 years, it's come to be visually composed of what it looks like now — the guys dressed in leather. It started off with classic rock and later on more extreme forms of metal were introduced."

Tags:

Posted in: News

COMMENTS

To comment on a BLABBERMOUTH.NET story or review, you must be logged in to an active personal account on Facebook. Once you're logged in, you will be able to comment. User comments or postings do not reflect the viewpoint of BLABBERMOUTH.NET and BLABBERMOUTH.NET does not endorse, or guarantee the accuracy of, any user comment. To report spam or any abusive, obscene, defamatory, racist, homophobic or threatening comments, or anything that may violate any applicable laws, use the "Report to Facebook" and "Mark as spam" links that appear next to the comments themselves. To do so, click the downward arrow on the top-right corner of the Facebook comment (the arrow is invisible until you roll over it) and select the appropriate action. You can also send an e-mail to blabbermouthinbox(@)gmail.com with pertinent details. BLABBERMOUTH.NET reserves the right to "hide" comments that may be considered offensive, illegal or inappropriate and to "ban" users that violate the site's Terms Of Service. Hidden comments will still appear to the user and to the user's Facebook friends. If a new comment is published from a "banned" user or contains a blacklisted word, this comment will automatically have limited visibility (the "banned" user's comments will only be visible to the user and the user's Facebook friends).