During the 1990s, a heavy metal scene established itself in Botswana, uniting two seemingly incompatible spheres – Africa and heavy metal. The so-called Afrometals movement mixes classical elements of the international heavy metal scene – such as metal, black leather, and Metallica and Iron Maiden t-shirts – with western symbols and elements from Botswana’s tradition.
Fascinated by this mixture, photographer Daniele Tamagni portrayed members of this movement in his Afrometals series. While some of them pose for the camera, others give a direct insight into their lives: the photos show them at concerts and amidst the Gabarone nightlife, enjoying drinks, beautiful clothes and music, revealing their apparent exoticism to a western eye. Given that the metal scene is mostly white in its countries of origin, it is hard for Europeans and North Americans to imagine that a movement dedicated to this music and lifestyle has emerged in Africa. However, the Afrometals do not simply copy the heavy metal lifestyle, but enrich it with many other facets. This represents what is probably the most vital part of Tamagni’s portraits: the depiction of a common ground, while simultaneously challenging viewing patterns and western expectations about youth culture in Botswana.