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All hope is strong: How heavy metal is helping to unite communities in Africa

In Africa, heavy metal is uniting people and giving them a voice, helping them to bridge cultural divides and fight corruption. We opened our ears to the rebellion

It wasn’t until he was in imminent danger of assault that author Edward Banchs realised how provocative it was to be a heavy metal fan in Africa. Edward, a lifelong metalhead with an academic background in African history, had taken it upon himself to travel to as many countries on the continent as finances and border issues allowed, to gain an insight into how metal scenes had begun to spring up all over, and the electrifying effect they were having upon African youth. Having finished interviewing Madagascan band JonJoRomBona, they all went for a beer.

“Stephan, my translator, wanted to play some metal, and that started it,” remembers Edward [pictured left], a native of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. They put on Shadows Fall’s seminal thrasher The Art Of Balance, and a group of men surrounded him. “I didn’t know what was going on. I assumed they were friendly, but then I saw the look on their faces and the way the guy was grabbing my hoodie.”

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