From Instagram to Twitter, I keep seeing people circulate these photos and caption underneath them “pray for Nigeria”. The photos we are seeing above though are from the 2010 oil spill that lead to a tank explosion that killed hundreds in D.R Congo. If you need further proof you can simply Google ‘oil tank explosion in Democratic Republic of Congo 2010’ and you will see these photos and more like them. I’ve searched for the photos of the Boko Haram attack and came up with only photos of the burned villages and displaced people but not the actual dead victims. It’s bothering me that people are circulating the wrong photos especially the press. I’m not expecting a lot from western media, to them Africa is a country anyway. However, for those of us who care and know, the least we can do is get this part correct.

Congo Monkey Spotted Decades After Species’ Alleged Demise

Welcome back, Bouvier’s red colobus monkey. It’s been a while.

The African primate hasn’t been seen since the 1970s and was assumed to have become extinct.

But, in a statement released late last week, the Wildlife Conservation Society says two primatologists working in the forests of the Republic of Congo were successful in a quest begun in February to confirm reports that Bouvier’s is still out there. They returned with a first-ever snapshot of a mother and infant.

“Our photos are the world’s first and confirm that the species is not extinct,” Lieven Devreese, one of the field researchers, was quoted in the WCS statement as saying.

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“Les gens de coleur de Kinshasa”, An Illustrated Series By Artist Jonathan Malila, Inspired By Congolese Sapeur Culture.

Inspired by the Gentlemen of Bacongo also known as “Les Sapeurs, a group of men from the Republic of Congo who stand out with their strikingly fashionable dapper style and sartorial sensibilities, this series was born out of fellow Congolese artist Jonathan Malila’s admiration for the dedication of these men to their aesthetic and lifestyle.

Often wearing bright colours and the finest threads money can buy, Les Sapeurs attract attention with their liability to elegance and genteel individuality. They combine chic and eye-catching clothes to create outfits that favor the classic Dandy styles of 18th-20th century Europe. 

By wearing these seemingly lavish outfits, Sapeurs attempt not to demonstrate signs of class and status, as the original Dandies would have, but rather use clothing as a way of subverting and upsetting the notions of privilege, race and power as dictated by these colonial fashions. Often, these men come from humble backgrounds. In order to resist and not be confined by the reality of their surroundings, these men take on the role of ‘self-promoter’, elevating themselves to whatever social status they desire or wish to acquire. The Sapeur way of life is an expression of their inner freedom, a liberty that is not dictated by or restricted to their surroundings. 

The Sapeur considers himself as a living piece of art that is not only seen through their impressive wardrobes, but also a repertoire of slick and meaningful gestures that complete the essence of each Sapeur. For all this, Sapeurs enjoy high recognition and respect in their communities. 

And it is in this same vein of self-love and admiration that Congolese artist Jonathan Mwe di Malila dedicates this series to the self-determining ideology of the Sapeur. In particular, the self-presentation and self-preservation elements of Sapeurism, considering the external circumstances imposed on them by a mixture of history and circumstance. Drawing from the vibrancy of Sapeur culture, making use of celebratory bright hues, patterns, prints and icons - such as the sunflower and palm trees, the urge of freedom and the desire for individuality are the subjects of Jonathan’s paintings. With lots of colour and effortlessness the artist conveys these characteristics and motifs in each graphic, integrating the multi-layered history of African fabrics to express the centrality of their African identity.

Find Jonathan on Tumblr and Facebook.

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