Obliterating convention by bringing black metal music to Soweto


Soweto is the birthplace of Kwaito. Home to buoyant hip-hop and house scenes, the place is South Africa’s musical heartbeat, home to diverse cultures forming different facets of sonic tradition. With all of that being said, it’s the last place anyone would expect to find a black metal band.

That’s why when Modiba Rabothata gets on stage with his white painted face wearing a spiked leather jacket, he… sticks out. But he is used to the gasps and stares. Rabothata and his friends formed the group Demogoroth Satanum in June 2009. Their first demo was released in 2010 but it wasn’t until 2013 that they got the opportunity to perform alongside locally established bands. In the passion and fury of black metal music, the group has found an outlet for self-expression that is as innovative and artistic as any of their city’s more established genres.

The group has found expression through a genre that has been heavily associated with Western culture. Despite strong resistance, they are confident in who they are and what they represent. Their will has encouraged other youth in Soweto to start their own bands. Black metal is a release for them. It gives them a voice and allows them to feel empowered.