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Tracing Roots of SAPEUR Of DRC

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Often times, the story of Congolese Sape will comeup at any moment in conversation with a congolese but few Rwandans may know about the group of Congolese people that describe themselves as SAPE.

SAPE is an abbreviation of – Société des Ambianceurs et des Personnes Élégantes (The Society of Ambiance-Makers and Elegant People).

In 1922 a man named Andre Grenard Matsoua, returned home to Congo from Paris dressed as a French ‘Monsieur’.

In a context where Congo was colonised by the French, and many Congolese were still ‘naked’ and ‘uncouth’ servants to the elegant and well-dressed French expatriates, his appearance in a colourful suit in the ‘roaring twenties’ of jazz music and flappers must have looked surreal in Central Africa.

However, this story initiated a social-movement in Brazzaville where servants began to dress like their masters, and embraced this European style of fashion as a way of combating colonial superiority.

Thus, ‘Les Sapeurs’ became a political symbol and ideology that can still be seen today.

The modern members of La Sape come from a much more artistic and serene place, although they still serve as an expression against a way of life; this time it is against poverty in the depressed and war-torn country of the Congo.

Decked in designer gear from Louis Vuitton to Gianni Versace (Their “High Priests”) they take control of their lives and bring a cultural richness to an otherwise bleak existence.

There are currently at least 6000 Sapeurs across the Democratic of Congo but most reside in the country’s capital, Kinshasa, where they act as ambassadors not just for the country but the continent.

a lady sapeur

When they walk down the streets, the city comes to a standstill. They are the nation’s celebrities.

And yet, the men themselves come from humble backgrounds, with many Sapeurs being plumbers, electricians, rubbish collectors, fishermen etc. They go about their day-to-day lives earning their living, no different from anyone else.

But it is when the job is done that these self-described ‘artists’ really come to life, as they become the canvas for their inspiration and expression.

Bold coloured suits mix with unusual fabrics, designer prints and props, to bring about a composition that catches the eye – like a Kandinsky painting in a desert.

To Les Sapeurs their art is not just an expression, it is a way of life, a behaviour, a philosophy.

Members have their own code of honour, codes of professional conduct and strict notions of morality that they live by such as:

A Congolese Sapeur is a happy man even if he does not eat, because wearing proper clothes feeds the soul and gives pleasure to the body.

When the Sapeur expresses himself through the harmony of his clothes, he is returning his admiration to God.

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CORONA VIRUS

Namibia Gets US$2.35M Worth Of Support From China On #COVID-19 To Date

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China has donated COVID-19 related supplies worth 40 million Namibian dollars (2.35 million U.S. dollars) to Namibia to assist the country in fighting the virus, political counselor of the Chinese embassy in Namibia Yang Jun said on Monday.

“We continue to pledge our support and our additional support is on the way. We hope the equipment donated is serving a good purpose in assisting the Namibian people,” Yang said.

He was speaking on the occasion where Chinese tech company Huawei donated two Thermal Imaging Temperature Measurement Systems to Namibia’s Ministry of Health and Social Services to assist in the fight against COVID-19.

Yang said the Chinese government through the embassy in Namibia is keen to support Namibia as a brother and as a way of cementing long-standing relations.

“The Chinese government has played a solid role in supporting Namibia and other African countries in dealing with the challenge of COVID-19. As a government we encourage our Chinese business community operating in Namibia to also contribute to Namibia’s fight against the virus, ” he said.

Presenting the donation, Huawei’s Namibia representative Sam Liu said his company is in solidarity with the Namibian government in combating the pandemic.

“As a leading information communication technology company, we would like to help the ministry with the visual imaging technology which can identify victims of COVID-19 by picking high temperatures from afar, hence reducing further spread. Huawei believes that the donation will go a long way in combating the spread of the virus,” Liu said.

Namibian Minister of Health and Social services Kalumbi Shangula said Namibia appreciates the donation by Huawei and the continued support by the Chinese government.

“During this time of challenges, we have been humbled by the outpouring of assistance from all partners including Huawei Technologies. We greatly appreciate the continued support and hope the non-contact temperature thermometers will greatly assist us in dealing with this pandemic,” he said.  

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Fashion

Gisupusupu Switches To Exotic Look

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Nsengiyumva François the Gisupusupu hit maker may have been silent for many months without a new song but is making a stylish comeback.

Social media is awash with his latest studio enhanced looks – he also has adopted a new tinted brush-size hair that completely twists his looks. He now looks a real super star.

The Gatsibo district born artist is synonymous with a local instrument ‘Umuduri’ which has since become his signature trademark.

Nsengiyumva could be Rwanda’s most favourite artist with a massive following on social media, children and also adults. His songs are of sing-along calibre that hooks into everyone’s ears.

After Gisupusupu song, the 43 year old is credited with more exciting songs such as ‘Rwagitima’, ‘Mariya Jeanne’.

Before Nsengiyumva rose to fame, he used to sing for small money at crowds during market days. Interested persons would dish him coins of 100 and 50 for every performance. Today he performs at prestigious events attended by high level dignitaries.

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Fashion

Mettā Nairobi Hosts Creative DNA Fashion Incubator Program Supported By British Council

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Mettā has brought together 11 Fashion startups after a rigorous multi-phase selection process for the  Fashion incubator under the Creative DNA program powered and supported by The British Council, East Africa Arts who seek to support Kenya’s Creative economy.

This is also in partnership with Fashion Scout, who are one of the UK’s largest fashion showcases throughout London Fashion Week, Paris Fashion Week and Kiev Fashion Days.

Founded in 2006, it is a creative platform that has showcased and supported nearly 900 emerging fashion designers from across the world.

This six-week intensive Fashion Incubator will help the entrepreneurs grow their businesses by tackling growth-stage challenges such as attracting the right customers, scaling to new markets, finding partners and securing investment. Which will be run alongside fashion scouts.

The cohort will have the opportunity to access and interact with a global network of fashion experts, mentors, corporate clients, and partners as well as explore the high-growth markets of London, with a one-week Bootcamp based in the UK.

Creative DNA will conclude in a fashion showcase in April where the entrepreneurs will have the opportunity to present their brand collections to achieve potential partnerships.

At the end of the program, 5 entrepreneurs will be selected to receive £5,000 in seed grant funding. There will also be 6-month post-program support from the Mettā & Nest Ventures team.

The 2020 cohort comprises of Ohana Family WearWe Are NBOGordon LuchiniEpic African JewelleryFavoloso by NanuSevariaEnda Athletic Ltd., The Nisisi FactoryStyleTech by TeshieVintara Collections and Genteel Kenya.

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