African Bands
Photo Credit: Christelle Duvenage

History teacher by day and metal music legend behind the scenes—Sashquita Northey wears many hats, and one of them just so happens to be helping African bands catch their big breaks overseas!

 

Johannesburg, South Africa (12 May 2024)—While we might not consider it when we’re still students at school, teachers do have lives outside their classrooms. One history teacher’s life outside the classroom lives in the realm of something straight out of a movie and is equal parts epic and inspiring. Sasquita Northey might be a history teacher by profession, but she’s also a rockstar who is helping African bands catch their big breaks overseas!

When she isn’t focused on the future generation in education, Sashquita’s on another mission as a metal music promoter who puts on shows across the country.

Since 2009, she’s been doing metal and alternative events for her company as a way to grow and develop the alternative community in South Africa. Bringing together alternative photographers, vendors, bands, and venues is one heck of a job, but it’s one Sashquita takes on with open arms as an important way to give more musicians their moment in the sun.

One of the biggest challenges musicians across genres face in Africa is limited opportunities to perform and grow their audiences, especially overseas. So, when the Wacken Metal Battle began locally in 2013, Sashquita hopped on as a judge and began lending her passion to growing the metal music community.

“The competition has preliminary heats across the country, selecting bands to perform at the finals in Johannesburg. Whoever wins the finals will then represent their country at Wacken Open Air in Germany—the biggest metal festival in the world,” Sashquita tells Good Things Guy.

“Here they compete at the Global Wacken Metal Battle against 30 other regions from across the globe for a chance to win great prizes.”

“The competition [does] a great job in not only showcasing African metal to new audiences, both locally, amongst other African nations and the world. Many artists leave their countries for the first time to travel to Johannesburg. They get the opportunity to meet other musicians and and learn more about the industry. They build relationships and network, gain exposure to new audiences and get to perform on a professional and quality level hardly ever seen within Africa,” says Sashquita.

Beyond the music and the growth opportunities for artists, its also an incredible way for people from all kinds of backgrounds, of different genders, languages and cultures to come together.

Sashquita explains that the festival in Germany sees bands perform to crowds of around 85,000 people—a chance for immense exposure.

Last year, the local Metal Battle expanded to other countries in Southern Africa, with Namibia joining in this year. The 2024 Battle had 12 shows across 8 cities in 6 countries and a panel of 11 judges—read this is not a small backyard event.

One band reigned victorious in winning the chance to represent Africa in metal—Joburg’s own Sunken State, and as such, are very close to their shot in Germany.

But, the competition is completely self-funded, with donations from fans and ticket sales playing a part in getting the other African bands to the South African final, and the winners to Germany. The rest of the costs to Wacken rely on crowdfunding initiatives.

Beyond making sure that African bands get the chance to catch their big break, Sashquita also helps out with the fundraising; another heck of a job. But, in epic news for the musicians, Sashquita shares that they have almost reached the fundraising goal and have created a BackaBuddy to help collect the funds.

A hero to African metalheads, Sashquita’s dedication to creating opportunities for creatives is nothing short of an A+ effort.


Sources: GTG Interview 
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About the Author

Ashleigh Nefdt is a writer for Good Things Guy.

Ashleigh's favourite stories have always seen the hidden hero (without the cape) come to the rescue. As a journalist, her labour of love is finding those everyday heroes and spotlighting their spark - especially those empowering women, social upliftment movers, sustainability shakers and creatives with hearts of gold. When she's not working on a story, she's dedicated to her canvas or appreciating Mother Nature.

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