style

Congo’s sapeurs pass their style on to a new generation

Some residents of the twin Congolese capitals of Brazzaville and Kinshasa have long been known for their love of stylish dressing – in particular members of the Society of Ambience-Makers and Elegant People (Sape). These photographs by Tariq Zaidi reveal a whole new generation of “sapeurs”.

In the Democratic Republic of Congo’s capital Kinshasa, the son of famous sapeur Fiston Mahata, eight-year-old Natan, represents the new generation of style.

Across the River Congo in Brazzaville, 10-year-old Okili Nkoressa, middle, uses the dirt roads as his catwalk. “My favourite item of clothing is my Yves Saint Laurent suit which I am wearing today,” he says. He is accompanied by veterans of the Sape scene, 52-year-old businesswoman Ntsimba Marie Jeanne, left, and 39-year-old policewoman Judith Nkoressa, right.

Severin Mouyengo’s father was also a sapeur. “I Sape every day. It makes me forget about everything,” says the 62-year-old retired forester.

“It brings peace

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