The BBC posted a fantastic gallery of sapeurs, the snappy Congolese dressers who brighten Brazzaville and Kinshasa. The photos are by Tariq Zaidi (insta), who has a book out in October titled Sapeurs: Ladies & Gentlemen of the Congo [Amazon]. The image above is from another set of Zaidi's photos published in The Guardian last month.
Most have ordinary day jobs as taxi-drivers, tailors and gardeners, but as soon as they clock off they transform themselves into debonair dandies. Sashaying through the streets they are treated like rock stars – turning heads, bringing 'joie de vivre' to their communities and defying their circumstances. Traditionally passed down through the male line, many Congolese women and their children have recently begun donning designer suits. As Papa Wemba (1949–2016, Congolese singer and fashion icon who popularized Sape) once said: »White people invented the clothes, but we make an art of it.«