Amazingly, 2016 signifies the milestone of a full decade since the emergence of the metal4africa “brand” – or otherwise simply M4A as commonly referred to – on the local scene in Cape Town. It quickly spread to national significance and gradually also crept into other parts of Africa and beyond.
But what exactly is M4A, and why would anybody consider it important?
Fundamentally, M4A is an idea, and this idea has been treated as important by many because it does not only intend to serve you and your peers as local metalheads, but because many have realized that it’s existence and continued legacy relies solely on our people sticking together as a community of metalheads. It is also important because it is not the result of the ideas and actions of only one person, but the manifestation of input from many!
It is also a symbol. It symbolizes a community of people who are prepared to do for ourselves what others would not have done for us.
It symbolizes that no matter how tough things can get; that as long as there are those of us willing to stand together and face difficulty, then difficulty can be overcome. It also symbolizes that in those times where we might not always be “victorious”, we still know that we can survive defeats and commit ourselves to rebuild, or to adapt to new circumstances and thrive again.
It symbolizes our triumphs, as we share news and stories of the victories achieved by others within our community; because very little comes easily for anybody around here, be it recording and releasing music, enabling ourselves to travel and share our art, for the promoters and venue owners who risk house and home to ensure we are able to come together and enjoy the fruits of our passions, or even the other activists in our media community who share in the documenting of these stories. After ten years, this gathering of collective strength has allowed that we are still here today.
But how do interested persons involve themselves?
This is the most crucial question. Many have asked it, and many who have come forward and asked it have taken the steps and delivered. However, it has been a long time since we openly invited public participation. As far back as 2009 was when we had members of the local community come together in large numbers to a public meeting, and it was there that what M4A is today was decided upon – a when a brand which started out as a simple myspace page in 2006 was forged into it’s own news website.
Of course, very few of those who attended and participated in 2009 are still active in the scene today; and many of those are are active in the scene today were not yet of age in 2009. In this span of time there has emerged a gap which we’d like very much to fill.
The time has come to redress what the metal4africa brand represents to today’s generation of active metalheads. Are we still delivering on target? Is the work we have been doing for the last couple of years still relevant? Does the public even know what we are supposed to be doing, and why?
Lets get together and talk about these things. Lets reflect on the evolution of M4A up until the present, and discuss where we all feel it needs to go (and more importantly, why?) in the future.
Where / When / Who / What / Why?
Where: This meeting will take place in Observatory, Cape Town. Longtime friend of South African metal and owner of Gandalf’s / ROAR, Antonio Manuel, has invited us to host such a meeting at another of his businesses just down the road: Trenchtown, on the corner of Lower Main & Station Roads.
When: We’re looking at the weekend of 12 and 13 March. We’ll go with the date which most people agree makes sense: 12 or 13 (Sat or Sun) – since we know that people’s time is important to them. If one of these can work better for you, then you can fill it on the form below. Trenchtown offers some great food at reasonable prices, and operate a licensed bar, so early arrivals are welcome for those who would like to include a lunch beforehand. Food and drinks are welcome to be consumed throughout. If we meet on the Saturday, there is a great gig taking place nearby on Saturday night.
Who: Absolutely anybody who takes an interest in this brand and what it could/should be doing for them or the scene in general is welcome to participate. This includes band members, supporters of the local scene (fans), as well as other “activists” within the scene (event promoters, media platforms, creatives such as writers, photographers, etc). Our policy has always been to represent a non-competitive and welcoming demeanor. We invite anybody to a seat around our table, because we believe it to also be your table.
What: We will first do a short presentation to cover: a summary of what metal4africa‘s history is; how what it is today came into being; why we feel that public input is more than important, but essential, and; where we feel we have fallen short. Thereafter, we will invite public comment. We will then continue in an interactive manner through an agenda of points which will be determined – with your input (especially for those who cannot attend because of location) – in advance of the meeting.
Why: “What’s in it for me?” Many who have stepped forward to take a personal interest in M4A over the years have asked this very fair and logical question. The point is, however, a defiance of logic – because we are passionate! There will be very little opportunity for direct self-gain as a contributor to this project. The spirit of Metal can be interpreted in many ways, but how it has been interpreted by those who have made M4A what it is today has always been to defy logic and to do it anyway, because it is something we believe in! M4A has always striven to avoid serving the whims of the individual, but rather aiming to fulfill interests of the collective. You are an integral part of that collective. We need input from people like you, but we also need people like you to step forward of your own account. You may voice your concerns and interests, and you are encouraged to spark debate – but when it comes to it, our actions in service of this brand is to do work that serves the collective above the interests of the individual; because in growing the strength of the collective, we are thus growing the strength of many individuals. This approach is what had sparked M4A as being unique all those years ago when we started, and we wish to maintain that essence.
How do I attend and participate?
Participation starts right now! There are two things we need to get done right away:
1. We need to determine our meeting’s agenda
2. We need to determine an approximate headcount
In addressing these two matters, you are invited to register by filling in the form.
NB: Please note that by filling in the form, you agree that we can include you to a contacts list which we will use only to inform you on the final agenda sent out before the date of 13 March 2016, and to remind you of the date, time, and place of the meeting or to notify you of any changes. Your information will not be shared, your input will be kept confidential, and you will be welcome to opt out of further contact after that initial email is received.