The N’Djili district of Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo is home to an enormous market of scrap auto-parts, carefully salvaged from Japan's waste-stream and meticulously arrayed on blankets by merchants eking out a marginal existence.
The merchants and their merchandise were photographed by Jean-Sylvain Tshilumba Mukendi and Maxence Dedry for a project called Les Mitrailleurs.
The photographers spent a week getting to know people, and another week making pictures. Vendors don’t make many sales, and pass the time playing checkers, smoking, and drinking—often tangawisi, a local concoction made with ginger. It’s not an easy way to make money, it offers a glimmer of promise to men with slim prospects. “They keep on dreaming and fantasizing about the Western world, in which they’ve got super nice cars,” says Mukendi. And no need for parts to keep them running.
Les Mitrailleurs [Jean-Sylvain Tshilumba Mukendi and Maxence Dedry]
The Market in the Congo Where Car Parts Go to Rest [Charley Locke/Wired]
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