Some residents of the dual Congolese capitals of Brazzaville and Kinshasa have lengthy been identified for his or her love of fashionable dressing – particularly members of the Society of Atmosphere-Makers and Elegant Individuals (Sape). These pictures by Tariq Zaidi reveal an entire new technology of “sapeurs”.
Within the Democratic Republic of Congo’s capital Kinshasa, the son of well-known sapeur Fiston Mahata, eight-year-old Natan, represents the brand new technology of fashion.
Throughout the River Congo in Brazzaville, 10-year-old Okili Nkoressa, center, makes use of the filth roads as his catwalk. “My favorite merchandise of clothes is my Yves Saint Laurent go well with which I’m sporting at this time,” he says. He’s accompanied by veterans of the Sape scene, 52-year-old businesswoman Ntsimba Marie Jeanne, left, and 39-year-old policewoman Judith Nkoressa, proper.
Severin Mouyengo’s father was additionally a sapeur. “I Sape daily. It makes me neglect about every thing,” says the 62-year-old retired forester.
“It brings peace and tranquillity to everybody… I do not see how anybody in La Sape might be violent or battle. Peace means quite a bit to us.”
Elie Fontaine, a 45-year previous taxi-owner says he began dressing in fits as a baby in 1982. “They used to inform us that Sape was only a type of ‘juvenile delinquency’.”
They gained worldwide fame in 2014 when their type was featured in a Guinness advert.
“For me Sape is an artwork, Sape is a self-discipline, Sape is a job” says Maxime Pivot Mabanza, who has been a sapeur for 36 years.
Perreira Franchisco, a 37-year-old pc advisor in Brazzaville, calls himself “the best sapeur”.
“I’ll now reveal, what is named a clothes equation with 2 or 3 parts. So I can be sporting a Kenzo go well with, made in Italy, with a backless vest by Jean Basinga, I will put on a tie blue, white, pink by Pierre Cardin and a pair of varnished tectonic footwear by John Foster. I really like sporting my Kenzo go well with – made in Italy!”
Increasingly more ladies are becoming a member of the dapper dressers, together with 44-year-old businesswoman Ella Kiadi who began eight years in the past.
The ladies within the membership are often called sapeuses.
Some ladies began many years in the past, together with 52-year-old housewife Clementine Biniakoulou, who has been a sapeuse for 36 years.
“It is like somebody who has an incurable illness and should take drugs, that is what Sape is like,” says Nino Valentino.
Human assets supervisor Basile Gandzion, 51, has been a sapeur for 30 years.
“Out of all my garments my favorite merchandise of clothes is my hat,” says 58-year previous bricklayer Yamea Bansimba. He has been a sapeur for 50 years.
“Jika is right here. The garments inspector, I’ve arrived, all of the labels are right here. A Y3 skirt, Zara and different labels, crocodile footwear, 40 cm socks, do you are feeling me. I’m right here, Jika the Parisian,” is how 28-year-old Serge Bakama Boke – aka Jika – introduces himself.
At simply 5 years previous, Israell Mbona (proper) has been a sapeur for 3 years. Even at his younger age, his kilt is from Scotland and his footwear are Versace.
Photographer Tariq Zaidi’s ebook Sapeurs: Girls and Gents of the Congo is printed this month.
All pictures by Tariq Zaidi