STORY OF THE ABACOST
Here we see the abacost worn by Mobutu Sese Seko, Siyaad Barre and king Nyim Kot a Mbweeky III.
Originally from Zaire( DRC) the abacost was also worn by Somalia’s late president as we see. This tells us the popularity of the garment among the african elite in post-independence Africa.
The abacost, abbreviation for the French “à bas le costume” (literally “down with the suit”), was the distinctive wear for men that was promoted by Mobutu Sese Seko as part of his authenticité programme in Zaire, between 1972 and 1990. Zairians were banned from wearing Western-stylesuits with shirt and tie to symbolise the break with their colonial past. The abacost was a lightweight short-sleeved suit, worn without a tie, though sometimes with a foulard. It closely resembled a Mao suit.