Gaborone, Botswana (CNN) -- While Botswana is perhaps best known for its wildlife reserves, a burgeoning counter-culture is painting a very different image of the small south African Country.

 Clad in leather, adorned in spikes and topped off with cowboy hats, these are Botswana's heavy metal heads.  CNN got up close to the hardcore rockers and discovered a passionate retro scene proudly celebrating its African heritage.
While Western head bangers are most commonly associated with sneakers and band t-shirts, Botswana's fans have carved a unique image reminiscent of the 1970s New Wave British heavy metal scene.

Photographer Frank Marshall captured the rockers in all their Hell's Angels-style glory as part of his Renegades exhibition, on display at the Rooke Gallery in Johannesburg.  "Metal was seeded here by a classic rock band that started in the early 70s. Since then, it's evolved and grown," he said.  "In the last 10 to 20 years, it's come to be visually composed of what it looks like now -- the guys dressed in leather. It started off with classic rock and later on more extreme forms of metals were introduced."
Marshall described a macho scene with unique rituals, adding: "There's a strong sense of camaraderie amongst them. That's the first thing you'll notice about them as an outsider coming in. They've got a very strong bond and friendship with each other."They're very physical. At the shows, you don't just shake their hands. They'll grab your hand and shake you around.  "They embody the very aggressive elements of metal. It's an expression of power. Everything is an expression of power for them, from the clothes to the way they speak to the way they walk. They walk with very deliberate lurching strides.

"To them, it's perfectly normal. Maybe for an outside observer, from the west it might seem bizarre or comical but not here. They're respected and revered in some ways as well.  With names like Demon and Gunsmoke it would be easy to dismiss the rockers as thugs. But in fact, the titles come with a strong awareness of social responsibility.  "We try to portray a good figure. We're trying to be role models. I know rock used to be a hardcore thing but actually it's something in our heart too," heavy metal head Gunsmoke said.
"It's all about brothers in arms. Brothers in metal -- we're there for each other. That's the way we identify ourselves."  The leather-clad rockers share a similar aesthetic to notorious motorcycle gang the Hell's Angels. But that's where the likeness ends. According to Gunsmoke, the African head bangers are seen as a type of guardian angel, rather than the Hell's variety. "Kids follow us around. Parents approach us. We're there for a good cause actually. We help people on the streets at night," he said.
And for the hardcore fans, heavy metal is more than just a scene -- it's part of the national identity. Even the Botswana president Ian Khama is a fan. Or at least that's according to Gunsmoke.  "We want to make him proud. He made us proud with one man like him leading the nation. Why should we be scared when our president is a rocker?" Gunsmoke argued.  "Bots is known as a small country. People used to think it was a rovince of south Africa.
"But if we can stand tall on this family then we can be known as much as the country was unknown." Watch: Building music schools in townships
It's a uniquely African movement, and one that celebrates a special spiritual connection to the land. Gunsmoke pointed to the use of animal horns in fashion, as a representation of Africa. "Most of us are in a tribe. The totems are animals. We've got the crocodile, lion, hare, rabbit. You name it. It's part of your culture," he added. African mythology and folklore loom large in the lyrics of Botswana band Skinflint. CNN caught up with lead singer Giuseppe at a gig just outside the capital Gaborone. "We have a lot of ancestral beliefs - back in the day they used to believe that if someone dies and you touch the dead person then Gauna will come and take your soul," he said. "Gauna was created on a 7-inch vinyl and it was distributed by Legion of Death Records in France. We're the first ever African heavy metal band to release something on vinyl."
The white singer also pointed to the unifying powers of heavy metal, saying: "The metal nation knows no racial boundaries. We're all one. We all speak one common language and it's called heavy metal."Metal is a music about power, independence and freedom. That's what I believe in --fighting for what you believe in no matter the consequences. Standing up for what you believe in and showing individuality."


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This African couples have amazed medical experts after their baby daughter was born with white skin, blue eyes and blonde hair. Benjamin and Angela Ihegboro's daughter, Nmachi, has confused genetic experts who are unable to explain why she looks the way she does.

Doctors say the white-skinned newborn is not an albino. The blonde, blue-eyed girl's Nigerian parents say they don't know of any white ancestry in either of their families.

The British couples are both of Igbo Nigerian origin and have dark skin. Father Ben Ihegboro, 44, a customer services adviser, admitted that when he saw the baby he shouted “What the Fuck?' before asking “is she mines?'

Doctors at Queen Mary hospital in Sidcup insist that Nmachi - whose name means 'beauty of God' in the couple's native Igbo language is not an albino.

Her baffled parents, who already have two black children, just 'sat and stared' at their white baby when she arrived, they told the Sun Newspaper. 'We both just sat there after the birth staring at her,' said Mr. Ihegboro. Mum Angela said: 'She is beautiful, a miracle baby.'

Despite jokingly asking whether he was the father, Mr. Igegboro said: 'Of course she is mine. 'My wife is true to me. Even if she hadn't been, the baby wouldn't have looked like that!' Pale skin genes can skip generations but neither Ben nor Angela Ihegboro - who only moved to Britain five years ago - know of any white heritage in either of their families.

'She doesn't look like an albino child anyway,' Mr. Ihegboro said. 'Not like the ones I have seen back in Nigeria or in books. She just looks like a healthy white baby. 'My mum is a black Nigerian although she has a bit fairer skin than mine. But we don't know of any white ancestry.

'We wondered if it was a genetic twist. But even then, what is with the long curly blonde hair.' The couple also have an older daughter, Dumebi, two, and a son, Chisom, four. Mr. Ihegboro said the couple's son was even more confused than them.

He added: 'Our boy keeps coming to look at his sister and sits down looking puzzled. 'We are a black family. Suddenly he has a white sister. 'But all that matters is that she is healthy and that we love her.'

Skin color is believed to be determined by up to seven different genes working together. If a woman is of mixed race, her eggs will usually contain a mixture of genes coding for both black and white skin. Similarly, a man of mixed race will have a variety of different genes in his sperm. When these eggs and sperm come together, they will create a baby of mixed race. But, very occasionally, the egg or sperm might contain genes coding for one skin color. If both the egg and sperm contain all white genes, the baby will be white. And if both contain just the versions necessary for black skin, the baby will be black.


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Why are we not proud of our own Culture and Tradition? Why are we ashamed to present our culture with pride? I was at the office yesterday and I overheard a conversation between a Group of men, about how Africans and especially African women sell themselves out. And here are some of the things they said.

I heard there is a new fashion going on among African women and ladies and that is wearing an Indian traditional dress called SARI. I was told that in Nigeria and Ghana today as a woman you don´t belong to the high society if you don´t have at least one piece of this Indian attire. So now let’s ask ourselves, what is wrong with our Kente, Ankara,Kampala  and Kangas ? Why can’t we wear it with pride? Also ask yourself, will an Indian woman ever wear an Ankara or Kente?

We also talk about the Phenomena of the Indian hair, Brazilian hair, Peruvian hair e.t.c. Even basket mouth talked about it when he came here to Germany.  He said all those fake hairs we African women wear don’t make us any attractive but it depreciates our worth.  I have to say that I am also guilty on this matter because I myself also wear all this fake hairs. Why can’t we just leave our natural hair? So I have taken the decision to go natural.  If we take good care of our hair it can also grow long and look beautiful. I heard about a trend going on in Japan where people try to make their silky hair look like a ‘fro.  There is a revolution going on in the US now where more black women leave their natural hair in its natural state.

Even our politicians send their children to school abroad because they believe that anything made in Africa is worthless. They even deposit their money overseas and that way they are helping other economies to grow stronger. What about our Africa, who is going to build it?

And last why do we have to bleach our skin?!?!  Is it because of low self esteem or is it because we just don’t appreciate ourselves and we want to be white at all cost? Thereby mutilating  our beautiful skin.  

So picture this, an African woman, bleached, dressed in a sari and wearing an Indian or whatever hair. I know and am not hurting anyone’s fundamental human right. Everyone has the right to dress or look how he/she pleases, but something is wrong somewhere.

Africans wake up!!!!

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