Meet Botswana’s fearsomely vibrant heavy metal subculture, The MaRock
By Sound Check
April 24, 2017
By Ngozi Chukura, AFROPUNK Contributor
In recent years, the rocker subculture of Botswana has attracted a lot of international attention. ‘MaRock’, as they are popularly known, have been a part of Botswana’s cultural landscape since the 1970s.
MaRock are known for wearing elaborate outfits, sporting tassels, studs and cowboy boots and hats. Many integrate animal parts, (sculls, teeth, tufts of hide) into their regalia, adding a uniquely local twist to the local rocker mythology.
As the subculture grew and emerged from the shadows, MaRock men could be seen in urban centres, a huddle of bodies brandishing heavy chains as they walked through the mall, or bumping death metal from their cars. As the years ticked by, more women were attracted to the music, and the rock Queens of Botswana have added to the diversity and fearsome beauty of the MaRock scene.
Of course, the heads are united by their love for the music. The first rock band that garnered a healthy following was Nosey Road, who often played at the Nosey Road Nightclub in the 1970s. Since then, a vibrant live bands scene has evolved in the country, including Wrust, Metal Orizon, Overthrust and Skinflint, each adding their unique sounds and narratives to the music and the subculture.
Despite what some have called their ‘scary’ appearance, MaRock are some of the most peaceful people one could meet. When they are not dressed to the hilt in leather, metal and bones, many serve in social or developmental roles in their communities, in an effort to uplift and empower others. Check out photos taken of some MaRock bands by photographer Petra Rolinec below!: