HELLBANGERS

By Pep Bonet


 

For 60 years, Botswana has stood as a peaceful nation in a turbulent continent. The Batswana have enjoyed freedom of expression, life, loves and passions, and among these a fervent heavy metal scene has grown nationwide.

Hellbangers is a film which makes a mockery of all the stereotypes ascribed to Africa.

 
 

 Botswana, Ghanzi, May 20178th Anniversary Overthrust "Winter Metal Mania Fest 2017" 
Kehumile Samo (right) and his Cousin Innocent Iane (left) with Lady, the dog. Kehumile studies Public Health in Ghanzi. Innocent wants to become a farmer. They share the house (in the picture behind them, left) on their uncles’s property. Their favourites bands are Iron Maiden, Megadeath, Judas Priest but also Meatloaf. They don’t have nicknames (yet).Pep Bonet / NOOR

It is a story of passion, positivity and togetherness through a music scene which is never less than loud, colorful and joyful.

Hellbangers follows Batswana heavy metal lovers from all over the country as they prepare to converge onto Ghanzi for the annual Winter Mania metal festival put on by the community leader, ex-police chief, bass-raging warrior and talisman, Vulture, from the extreme metal band Overthrust.

Containing footage of all the various Botswana metal families, supported by 30 in-depth interviews with characters ranging from Vulture to charismatic Charles Bronson-loving “cowboy" The Undertaker, and culminating in the metal madness of the Winter Mania show, Hellbangers is the story of people coming together and becoming who they really want to be rather than what the world believes they are.

 
 Africa, Botswana, Gaborone, December 2015Photo by Pep Bonet / NOORPortrait of 27 years old “Cybok”I work as a security guard, I started listening to heavy metal in 2008, I liked the way the metal heads dressed and behaved so I started associating myself with them and I became a rocker, I like Skinflint, I’m new in the Industry.
 Africa, Botswana, Gaborone, December 2015Photo by Pep Bonet / NOORPortrait of 21 years old ÒBladeÓI work in a bakery at Woolworths, I love rock n roll and I started listening to metal in 2012 , I used to see music videos for Hammer Fall in MTV channel and I liked the way there were looking on stage, dressed in leather pants and nice boots, I started buying metal attire and thatÕs how I became a rocker.
 Africa, Botswana, Gaborone, December 2015Photo by Pep Bonet / NOORPortrait of 40 years old “Diplo”I am a farmer, I started listening to metal music in 1999, my sister was married to a white man from England who heavily influenced me to listen to metal, by then I was just listening to that music not knowing it was called metal, up to until I learnt about metal and started buying metal attire for myself, I listened to bands like Led Zeppelin and Deep Purple.
 Botswana, Ghanzi, May 20178th Anniversary Overthrust "Winter Metal Mania Fest 2017". Maxao Debele aka DIDI ROKK from Ghanzi. He doesn’t play in band but likes the music and the metal community, his „true brothers".Pep Bonet / NOOR
 
 

Hellbangers smashes the myths and cliches of Africa only being a continent containing war, poverty and strife, instead showing that heavy metal brother -and sister- hood thrives with life and passion in the African continent.

 
 
 Botswana, Ghanzi, May 2017“Vulture” 32 years old Overthrust front man, bassist and lead vocalist.
I am a rocker, I live for rock n roll and I´ll die a true, loyal metal warrior, anything that is not metal doesn’t make sense to me, I love metal. I started listening to metal at the age of 13 years when I was in a primary school in 1998, I stayed with my uncle Dux Drug Dee, Master and my other cousins who were metal heads and always playing metal around me, I got influenced and they gave me some metal music and attire, they gave me cassettes from Cannibal Corpse, Metallica, Iron Maiden and Def Leppard, so I listened to them everyday, I completed my studies in 2007 and became a cop, I met my cousin Spencer in 2008 and we started Overthrust, I sold my motorcycle – 1100 YAMAHA, to buy basic band instruments, Suicide joined us as a drummer, I was the bassist and vocalist and Spencer the guitarist, 2010 we became very active and started attending shows, Godfather and Dawg joined us in 2011 and 2013 respectively.Pep Bonet / NOOR
 Africa, Botswana, Gaborone, December 2015Photo by Pep Bonet / NOORPortrait of 38 years old “King Taker”I am a cowboy, I´m self employed and I deal with metal works such as welding and other stuff. I became a cowboy in 1993, I watched too much cowboy movies such as the good, bad and ugly and I was influenced, I wanted to be like them.  So in 2003 I became a brutal cowboy, I rode horses since at the age of 7 and half years, Im a cowboy who listen to metal because I love metal music, I have friends who are metal heads and I have spent the rest of my life in metal scene and attending shows, my favorite bands are Amon Amarth and Manowar. Today I was riding a Golden horse by the name Class.

In the short view, Hellbangers is a road movie about the physical journey of these various metal tribes to Ghanzi for the Winter Mania celebration, about their preparations, their reasons for going, their togetherness and what the heavy metal family means to them.

In the long view, Hellbangers stands as a timeless statement on the positive power of music and peace when the two are allowed to flourish side-by-side.


Hellbangers is about peace and community at it’s most colourful, extreme and fervent best, smashing cliches and building new legends to be explored further within a continent -and country- so often misjudged.

 Botswana, Ghanzi, May 20178th Anniversary Overthrust "Winter Metal Mania Fest 2017" at Ghanzi community Hall.
Edith „Gee Rock“ Seremane, 32 years old from Lobatse, visits the Ganzi Festival for the 2nd time. She started listening to heavy metal when she was 15 years old.Pep Bonet / NOOR