Congo is one of the most unfair countries in the world. But oddly enough, it is when night falls that self-esteem rises. Learn from sapeurs to face life's difficulties with elegance.
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After its independence, Congo, the former French colony, lived under a cruel military dictatorship.
As the regime was leftist, in an attempt to erase the history and influences of Europe, Western customs were banned.
To this end, African dress codes were instituted for the entire population.
But unlike the current black blocs, the resistance movement that emerged was born quite colorful.
Sape (Société des Ambianceurs et Personnes Élégantes, something like “society of creators of good taste and elegant people”) was created in the 1960s, on the outskirts of the capital, Brazzaville.
His aim was to show, through the participants' elegant and flashy clothes, that the government and those people did not command it.
Due to the lofty posture of its members, “sapelogy” has become known for its lifestyle based on the cult of elegance, the way of acting and dressing.
The sapeurs, as they call themselves, are among the young Africans of modest origin, who consider elegance a condition of being in the world, which goes beyond a mere aesthetic function.
Today we find immigrants who have taken the custom to the suburbs of Paris, Brussels and eighth cities in Europe.
Under illegal conditions, they work hard to buy designer clothes, to parade when they return.
For us, of course, in this wretched country (142nd in the HDI index among the countries of the world), it makes no sense to spend $ 500 on a pair of shoes when the average salary is $ 100 a year.
But a Congolese “sapeur”, even if he has not eaten anything, is happy to dress well, because elegance feeds the soul and gives pleasure to the body.
For those who live by appearances, a true lesson.
Fashion and life.
To better understand, see some photos of the sapeurs.
Recently, Guinness beer has launched a commercial that addresses this custom.
Along with filming, the brand also produced a short documentary on the subject.
The videos are in English, but to watch the subtitled version just click on the gear icon, then "subtitles / CC", "automatic translation" and select "Portuguese" as the language.