Republic of the Congo

Les Sapeurs

Photo credit: ilja smets, Flickr

According to the website Hip Africa, Les Sapeurs first emerged in 1922 after a Congolese man named Andre Matsoua returned home after a visit to Paris dressed as a French dandy.

This spawned a social movement in Brazzaville, in which embracing European fashion—read three-piece suits, fedoras and canes—was a way of “combating colonial superiority” (France was once a colonial power in Congo). Les Sapeurs was at once a political symbol that still resonates today.

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