X

La SAPE – Fashion above Everything

SAPE stands for “Societe des Ambianceurs et Personnes Elegantes” which translates as the society of atmosphere setters and elegant people. Its members put fashion above all the other issues a developing country like Congo is facing right now.

The origins of La SAPE can be traced back to when the first French colonists arrived in the area. They brought with them their famous fashion sense and inspired the locals who regarded the white man as far more elegant and educated than they were. In 1922 Andre Bernard Matsoua was the first local who traveled to Paris and came back dressed as a true French gentleman.

Since that time, members of “La Societe des Ambianceurs et Personnes Elegantes” have been trying to get their hands on the newest, most expensive pieces of designer clothes that appear in Europe. There are some luxury shops in Brazzaville and Kinshasa, but most “sapeurs” prefer to get them directly from the Old Continent. This is actually every member’s dream, to travel to Paris and get their hands on killer wardrobes at the source.

Sapeurs spend thousands of dollars on suits, shirts, shoes and accessories, but this doesn’t mean they’re rich. In a country where the average salary is somewhere around $300/month, most of these guys don’t even have a job. Most of them lend their clothes for a living (renting a designer suit costs about $25/day), while those who travel to Europe bring the latest designer labels and sell them for a small profit.

All members of La SAPE have unique styles and crazy names like Parfait le Bodeur, Serge le Temoin de Playboy, Baleine Sarkozy or Christian Dior. They live for fashion and feed off the attention they get when parading on the dusty streets of Brazzaville. But while most look up to them and dream of being in their shoes, there are those that accuse them of betraying their heritage and encouraging others to do the same.

The photos below are part of Francesco Giusti‘s La SAPE Collection, which recently won him an award for photography. They really do capture the charm of these special entertainers.

La-SAPE

Read More »

World’s Largest Bikini Parade

Hundreds of girls dressed only in their bikini take to the streets. I know, it’s every guy’s fantasy, but for once it came true, in South Africa.

That’s right boys, 287 girls walked 1,690 meters on Melrose Arch Boulevard, in Johannesburg,  and set a new Guinness record for the World’s Largest Bikini Parade. The girls used their sexuality to draw attention to the issue of breast cancer, a condition that affects one in every thirty South-African women.

The event took place on November 9th, 2009

Photos © Alexander Joe / AFP / Getty Images

bikini-parade2 Read More »

The Tasty Cooked Mice of Malawi

I knew cooked field rats were eaten in Asian countries like Thailand and Vietnam (they look very tasty too), but it seems they’re regarded as a delicacy in African countries like Malawi.

Living in one of the world’s poorest countries, the people of Malawi have to survive any way they can, so when they’re confronted with the choice of eating mice or starving to death, you can guess what they opt for.

Young children chase the “tasty” critters through the corn fields, right after the harvest, when the mice are nice and fat. To easily catch Kapuku, the most popular edible species of mice, locals set up traps throughout the fields. They fill large clay vats with water and smear them with fried corn husks. As the rats fight over the husks, some of them fall in and drown.

The mice are cooked, salted or dried, then strung on sticks and sold as delicacies. Yum!

cooked-rats

cooked-rats2

cooked-rats3

cooked-rats4

This is what they call pets in Africa

I remember a time when everyone of my friends wanted to get a pitbull as a pet, just so they can look cooler, and brag about how dog their dogs were. Now staring at these pictures I realize Africans are at whole other level, anyone of those pets, be it the hyenas, baboons or the python would make a pitbull beg for mercy.

Still it looks very cruel, taking wild animals, slapping a huge chain on them and using them as pets, it doesn’t look at all natural.

Read More »

The Ethiopian lip plug

So what you see in these photos is practically what you get if you decide to marry in some Ethiopian tribes, a woman with a huge round circle through her lower lip and no lower front teeth…That’s right, in order for her to be able to wear that thing, 2 or sometimes all four lower front teeth are yanked out.

Now I’ve always supported cultural diversity, but this and what they do at Phuket Vegetarian Festival, just make me sick. I wouldn’t go out there and try to impose my culture on them but still…I can’t agree with I’m seeing either. I wonder how they kiss in Ethiopia? Even with that thing off, it’s got to be something nasty! Read More »

Taking a swim in the Devil’s Pool

If you’re ever in Zimbabwe, don’t miss the chance to take a swim in The Devil’s Pool, a small lagoon, enclosed by rocks, on the edge of one of the biggest, most beautiful waterfalls in the world, Victoria Falls. Set on Livingstone Island, at a height of 103 meters, Devil’s Pool is definitely one of the most surreal locations on Earth.

  Read More »