africa suite

A Familiar Face

Klaroline Infinity Day 7 - Ideal Endgame Scene

A year, a century, what was time to an immortal? For Caroline, forty years meant love, laughter, fear and grief. With her daughters grown, she’s ready to stop playing it safe and to go looking for the adventures the world once promised.

She had forgotten how lonely it could be, the fate of a vampire. At home, the girls knew exactly who she was and what that meant - but they couldn’t possibly understand the weight of outliving such a phase in her life. Humans went through a handful of these complete shifts, but Caroline was realizing she would have to do this over and over again until she met the wrong end of a pointy stick.

Having buried both Stefan and Alaric years before and signed the Bennett School over to Josie and Lizzie, Caroline decided to take a well deserved retirement trip around the world for her sixty-fifth birthday. She had left a week earlier, kissing the girls at the airport. “I love you, call me every day.”

“Every week,” Josie promised sternly, onlookers probably confused to see a young woman asking her mother to call every day.

Because Caroline didn’t look her nearly sixty-five years; she didn’t look a day over seventeen, and she never would. It was a realization that came in waves, one that hit her again as she flew over the Atlantic to South Africa. The list of postcards and souvenirs she had planned to buy was much too short for someone of her age, but everyone had died or moved on with their very human lives.

The girls, obviously, would receive the brunt of her gifts. Matt never cared for her messages, and Elena didn’t even know who Caroline was anymore. Some of the school’s students kept in touch, but it wasn’t the same.

She was always missing the people she loved, and she wanted someone to miss her.

Shaking her head, Caroline glanced around the plane to distract herself from the morose thoughts. Brass curls caught her attention, but she turned to her book before she could let herself wonder why.

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An Article about Sapeurs (LONG POST)

Lately I’ve been fascinated by a unique group of African men called the Sapeurs. These black dandies are working-class men from the Congo who, for a variety of reasons, love to dress up regularly in their best outfits. 

The biggest rule of Sapeur style is that no outfit can have more than three colors or tones. This hails back to the days of early French colonialism that had similar rules regarding how dandies were to dress. I love the effect this has in their overall look. Every outfit pops and works in an amazingly coordinated way. 

Sapeur style also seems to lean towards solids and basic patterns, usually large ones like windowpane and stripes. I like the way that emphasizes the colors in the overall look.

What the Sapeurs’ style is really all about is more than just nice clothes. The culture comes from dandyism, a style that has existed for many, many years as a reflection of elegance and poise. Middle-class men in particular have been dandies, as they turn to the fashion to both hide their less-than noble family history and to reflect an inner tranquility. The Sapeurs’ way of life is that of non-violence, politeness, and elegance in all actions. Their group is also political; Sapeurs wish to end the sterotype of a poor, ragged, and ugly Africa. They call this SAPE, which means the Society for the Advancement of Elegant People, and these men are definitely that.

While the Sapeur culture is mostly male-dominated there are some women who are on the scene. While I am not equipped to comment on women’s fashion, I really like the look the woman in the middle of this picture pulls off, even if it reminds me of disco.

Unusual accessories in Sapeur fashion are pipes and cigars. These pieces are never lit, but rather are used to complete the neo-Victorian look Sapeurs love. 

In a nation that is constantly plagued by war, famine, and strife, the Sapeurs bring a ray of hope and joy to the people of their communities. Sapeurs are often asked to attend weddings and other special events so that a further touch of class and royalty is added to what are otherwise fairly plain celebrations. 

The SAPE began as early as 1920, during the final days of French colonization. Sapeurs usually pass down their love of style and grace to their children, who do the same. The man in this photo is a second-generation Sapeur, whose son is also apart of the SAPE. He says that one day his grandsons will also be in the SAPE.

What is beautiful to me about the Sapeurs is that they represent hope in the Congo. They show me how even in poverty and difficult times people are able to find a way to express themselves and their individuality. To me, that’s what wearing good clothes is all about.

What you’re looking at is the phenomenon of Sapeurs, a subculture of extraordinarily dressed dandies from the Congo. In the midst of their war-torn slums, these men dress in tailored suits, elegantly smoke on their pipes & stroll the impoverished streets in immaculate footwear. Dandyism or Sapologie in this case, is not a fashion trend. In some of the farthest corners of the earth where true dandyism exists, it serves as something closer to a religion; a code of living.