discover south africa’s disruptive, inspiring black punk scene
'We are using our talents to send new messages as to how we feel. Pay attention to what the young people are doing,' says one Soweto local in the short documentary 'Black Black Metal.'
There's black metal, then there's black black metal. A new documentary titled after the latter genre — "the rarest fucking genre ever," as one kid quite reasonably claims in the eight-minute film — explores an experimental, inspiring music scene in the impoverished South African town of Soweto. "In South Africa, rock music is massive, but limited to almost exclusively white communities," the opening credits explain in Wim Steytler's Black Black Metal. "In Soweto, a microscopic punk and metal scene is emerging, demolishing some long-held cultural stereotypes. This is the new wave of South African rock music."
Some of the scene's characteristics are unique to the dusty Johannesburg town, which borders the city's mining belt. But most are more universal — small venues, wild crowds, not giving a fuck, giving too many fucks. The Jburg locals' rebellion, passion, and distaste for more mainstream genres will look familiar to punk fans from even the largest cities, as will the artists cited as inspirations. "Misfits. Beatles. Led Zeppelin. The Ramones. Black Sabbath, the Ramones." One interviewee, though, claims to listen to German-language Nazi bands. ("Imagine!") As one girl urges near the end, "We are using our talents to send new messages as to how we feel. Pay attention to what the young people are doing. Listen, and look. That's how you see the condition of where we are and where we're going."
Text Hannah Ongley
Image via Vimeo