In pictures: Renegades - the heavy metal sub-culture of Botswana

image captionThrough his portrait project, Renegades, photographer Frank Marshall attempts to dispel some of the myths and stereotypes associated with identity in sub-Saharan Africa.
image captionMarshall documents a growing sub-culture of heavy metal enthusiasts in Botswana who are finding a new style of self-expression in the so-called ‘Batswana’ community.
image caption"I can't recall one instance where they were reluctant or dubious towards my taking their portraits," says Marshall. "In most cases they relished the opportunity to show themselves off. They are proud and wield a sort of tangible power, wrought from both the fantasy and sonic force of metal. Whereas many ‘metal heads’ can be arrogant or smugly indifferent, these guys in Botswana are very open."
image captionRenegades is a case study of an underground minority rebelling against the status quo, redrawing the borders of both heavy metal and orthodox culture in Botswana.
image captionHeavy metal audiences have traditionally been Caucasian, patriarchal and Eurocentric, making Marshall's portraits parodies of heavy metal lore.
image captionThe portraits uniquely chronicle the rebellious individuals and calls into question archetypes surrounding ethnicity, cultural identity and ideology.
image captionSome of the individuals in Marshall's photographs are already situated both geographically and ideologically on the fringe of a society.
image caption"Many of them are employed by the government in various roles. Several I met are soldiers. One is a museum curator, one a prison warden and another is a soldier. Some work in offices and some do their own freelancing like metal work," says the photographer of his subjects.
image caption"Although they are very collective in their expression of metal, most of them possess larger-than-life personalities," explains Marshall.
image caption"Any time a local gig is happening a lot of them will make a great effort to attend. Local shows aren’t frequent so they don't take any opportunity for granted. They often meet up in groups or their various cliques before shows and make very brash, bravado entrances (and exits)." Renegades is currently on exhibition at the Rooke Gallery, Johannesburg, South Africa.

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