Be well dressed with Elegant suits Y fancy shoes In one of the poorest countries in the world it may seem crazy. However, who said it is impossible? In Africa There are those who prioritize their image and appearance over other aspects of life.
You just have to travel to Brazzaville, capital of the Republic of Congo. Here, where there is no drinking water, a group of people walk around displaying European fashion through the unpaved streets and the pile of garbage that accumulates on the fronts of the houses.
Many of them go into debt for decades. They are working class and take loans with which they could buy a plot of land, but choose to invest it in suits Y imported shoes for which they usually pay millions and millions of Congolese francs. This is the life of “The Dandis of the Congo“.
They live in one of the poorest countries in the world, but they wear luxurious clothes.
What is a dandy? He is originally a person who stands out from the crowd for his Elegant and extravagant way of dressing, and that uses a language educated and refined. In addition, he has knowledge of fashion and comes from a family that belongs to the bourgeoisie or the wealthiest classes in the country. Also, they must have a strong personality and charismatic, and be acclaimed and applauded by the majority.
“The Dandis of the Congo”
The one of Congo is a local adaptation. While many of them are not wealthy, these people wear stylish and very colorful outfits. And, of course, from well-known and international brands, there is no room for knockoffs. They usually dress in Kenzo, Yves Saint Laurent and Giorgio Armani suits, wear Gucci and Prada luxury items, and wear Westons shoes.
For these dandies, image is everything, which is why it is so important to dress well. You have to keep up appearances. But behind this is a story dating back to the WWII, since thousands of Congolese participated in the conflict fighting in favor of France.
The members are working class. Many go into debt to buy their suits.
After serving in battle they returned to their homes. And, of course, when they returned to the Congo they brought the latest in European fashion. These people, in flamboyant Parisian clothing, began to meet privately, and to organize parties and galas to display their garments.
In time he was born Le Sape (Society of Air Fresheners and Elegant Men), an exclusive club that brings together “Los Dandis del Congo”. This movement has as its standard fashion and elegance. And it remains active to this day, despite being one of the poorest countries in the world.
Between poverty and misery
In the Congo, in addition to natural resources, the violence and the corruption. Decades of civil war and dictatorships make this country one of the most unequal economically and socially. Without free or compulsory education and with a scandalous rate of rapes on women.
But no matter the poverty that surrounds the country. Despite this, Le Sape it is a tradition, and these two worlds coexist in parallel. Like any select club, there are also rules to follow.
The Dandis of the Congo They cannot combine more than three colors in their suits and are required to wear Weston shoes at least once in their life. In addition, they must be honorable and an example to follow in their villages or cities. And they must raise the banners of inclusion, pacifism, freedom and improvement.
The Dandis of the Congo wear their clothes on the unpaved streets of Brazzaville.
A dandy gets to ask for several credits in his life. For example, there are those who went into debt for almost 7 million francs to buy one of their clothes. To get an idea, the average salary in Congo is about 700,000 Congolese francs a month. Everything is for style and prestige.
And, although it seems crazy, this movement not only remains in force in the former French colony, but also several European countries have formed their own movements Sape. For example, they can be seen in Italy, France, Spain and even in the city of London.
The Sapeurs are booming today, but were on the verge of disappearing in 1980, when the civil wars they swept the country. At that moment, a motto emerged among the dandies: “Let us put down our weapons and dress elegantly.”
The Sapeurs or “Dandis of the Congo” belong to Le SAPE (La Société des Ambianceurs et des Personnes Elegantes).
This movement may seem like a cult of luxury among the misery. However, many of them are praised. And it is believed that some see the protagonists as heroes upper class who go against the system, that is, a tendency as a form of protest. On the other hand, the Congo could have been one of the most prosperous countries in Africa.
However, the minerals coltan and gold became – more than a salvation – a nightmare. The guerrillas They practically control the country and the very high corruption threatens its development. Meanwhile, the Sapeurs they show off their luxurious costumes as they walk in their crocodile-skin shoes through unpaved streets surrounded by famine and poverty.