Kuba textile from Congo DRC

Kuba textile from Congo DRC

Here I present my styling for the Kuba textile from Congo DRC. I got the material from the local artisan’s market and met with my cousin’s seamstress. She made a few belts for me and I am so happy with them.I previously shared the story of the tribe who makes them. I look forward to your comments.

 

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11 advice to consider before you kiss 2018 Goodbye?

11 advice to consider before you kiss 2018 Goodbye?

The general mood at the end of 2018 was quite funny to me…

People all seem to struggle with the same things, bad relationships, whom to cut lose or keep in 2019, society’s opinion, finances, drama, anxiety, doubts and fear. We probably would all relate on a quote saying ” May your social media life be as good as your real one for this coming year. ”

For the first time, someone really close to me tried to commit suicide and this simply affected me in ways I didn’t comprehend. But it also showed me how miserable I was feeling by forcing myself to do things that no longer made me happy. It is hard to be honest with ourselves more than it ever was. Hard to keep the noise out with all the social media frenzy. We kinda all are living the painful life of celebrities, trying to keep up with apparences. We are buying into fake friends and fake lives even if we dont realise it straight away, unless you live in the village I grew up in :), they really don’t care about none of these and I almost envy them sometimes…

KEEP IT SIMPLE, KEEP IT REAL

 

What is the truth? Is social media bad for our health and mental wellness, or is it actually helping us to cope by dreaming and portraying the life we really want?

Tricky isn’t? Unless you believe in the “Fake it until you make it” motto of course.

This year has been challenging for me and all I wanted was to find my peace. I make to do list all year long, so new year resolutions are nothing special.

Here are the things I would like to work on to achieve that:

1/  Give up overthinking, procrastinating and holding grudges ( yeah… )

2/  Don’t raise your voice, improve your arguments

3/  Quit holding on to the past or even pleasing everyone 

4/  Do what works for you at your own pace

5/  Don’t be afraid to fail, fall or love again. This is the only way to learn more and do better

6/  Focus on progress not speed

7/  Keep your private life private

8/  Spend time with your family 

9/  Do what you are passionate about as much as possible

10/  Unfollow anything that doesn’t go with your vision

11/  Travel, Travel, Travel. The world is such a beautiful place and there is no excuse to not explore it nowadays.

All these because six months of hardcore focus and alignement can put you 5 years ahead in life. Don’t underestimate the power of consistency and desire. In life, we only regret the chances we didn’t take. That’s the truest  cliché you will read today.

 

FAMILY SELFIES ON MY BDAY

FAMILY PORTRAIT

 

 

What not to miss on your next trip to Kinshasa!

What not to miss on your next trip to Kinshasa!

My holiday in the Democratic Republic of Congo this year was a full on trip. I had such a tight schedule for 2 weeks but for the first time, I also had help from a friend.

As you may have seen on my previous posts about the waterfalls in Zongo and the national park of N’Sele, I really lived my free time as a tourist and it was beyond my expectations. I just wanted to do a separate post about my travel diary and the places I went to in the capital, Kinshasa. A little city guide for you if I may 🙂

Restaurant Chez Pierra

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The Artisan’s market: Art

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Hotel: Fleuve Congo

 

 

 

Family visit: Private properties

 

 

Celebrity meeting: Footballers Emmanuel Eboue and Marcel Tisserand

 

 

Tv interview for KIN 24

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Gala night to honour African footballers

organised by Singer Mohombi

 

 

Street Style

 

 

 

 

Restaurant River

 

Is the Congolese community ready for the Art industry to prosper?

Is the Congolese community ready for the Art industry to prosper?

The answer is YES!

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On November 9th, I attended the exhibition AKAA ( Also Known As Africa ) in Paris. This is the first contemporary art and design fair for African art.

It took place at the usual Carreau du Temple and had over 49 exhibitors and 130 artists who came from all around the world.

Here are a few images from my favourite artists, but you can see more on their website www.akaafair.com

ARTIST JP MIKA

 

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DIDIER CLAES

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FREDDY TSIMBA

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PATRICK BONGOY

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MON LOOK PARISIENNE

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Let’s chase the waterfalls in Zongo, Condo RDC.

Let’s chase the waterfalls in Zongo, Condo RDC.

When I first heard there were waterfalls in Congo, I couldn’t believe it. Then a feeling of shame came because again, I realised that there was still a lot of things I didn’t know about my own country.

It made me sad so I decided that for my next trip, I will surely become a tourist in my country. This October, I visited Congo for a modelling competition we were working on so I finally planned this dream escapade with a friend.

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We left around 10am for a four hours drive. It was so exciting but really I had no idea what to expect. We were lucky as there wasn’t much traffic, and traffic jams in Congo lasts for hours… We went through rural villages, small towns, markets and mountains.

Although I was born in Kinshasa, This was the first time I was in a real village with its school. No roof, but the basics, benches and a board. It was a strange feeling. We are so spoilt in the world I live in. We complain about the water being too hot, the food we eat, the clothes we wear and the places we are at. I may never know what it is like to carry water on my head for kilometres, waking up at 4am to make that route, building a house with one room to live with my whole family. Saying that it humbled me feels cliche and wrong because I left the 5 stars hotel I was staying in to go to a private villa in the middle of the jungle. And this is a blessing. A thousand thoughts were running through my head. Presidential elections are coming soon in Congo, I didn’t see a single thing about it through that drive. How do these people hear the news? How do they get electricity?

So many questions gave my friend a headache so I decided to stop so I could at least enjoy the trip I was dreaming about for so long.

We arrived at the property and were surrounded by beautiful plants, flowers and the whispers of the river.

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Faune and Flore in Zongo, Congo

Our private villa had 2 ensuite bedrooms and a big living room. Also 2 additional outside showers (literally) and a balcony with a view on the river. It felt amazing. No phone reception at all. We changed to meet the guide who would take us to the waterfalls. Prior to that we ordered our dinner for the evening. I took all my favourite local food and fell like I was in heaven for real.

Our breakfast veranda 

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There was a swimming pool as well and of course I had to put my feet in there. We arrived around 3pm as we stopped a few times and our guide was waiting for us at 4pm.

The swimming pool

 

The forest and the waterfalls

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I highly recommend this peaceful retreat for yourself or with your family. Congo is not only a magic place, but it is a town that Congo should cherish within its cultural heritage.

If You have been, please share your experience with me with your comments. Happy Sunday 🙂

What if we had more power than they made us think?

What if we had more power than they made us think?

When looking at charity tv adverts’ or those posters in the tube, the metro depending on the city, we have all heard someone ( or ourselves ) say something like, ” I wish I had more money to help these people or this community. ”

Well, what if we could. Really. What if we took a step back to realise that it was never about the money? That if we really really wanted to help someone, it only depends on us.

Today, I wanted to write about the project my social initiative is fundraising for.

ESIMBI ( meaning “It works” in Lingala ) tells stories, stories about children who dream of becoming astronauts, doctors, nurses and teachers. As they wake up every day with the hope that this could be possible, they realise that they live in Congo, Kinshasa.

My homeland. For them, school is hardly affordable, and their dreams are too expensive for their reality. Any little helps as Tesco has taught us.

As a charity and advocate of change in Congo, ESIMBI is always pushing boundaries for the children in our program. Inspired by their resilience and together with them, we at ESIMBI have been learning as well, how to provide them with what they truly need to grow and achieve. It is the least we can do.

The children in Congo are at a great disadvantage educationally. ESIMBI is determined to solve this issue. We are raising funds to bring ESIMBI DIGITAL to Congo. The funds will help us send the knowledge that will help them develop their young hungry minds – neatly packaged as tablets that that can be used offline, due the electricity issue in the country.

Our current program encourages the development of 1,000 children in Congo, and we are growing to aid 1,000 more, to give them the hope that someday what they are learning today will benefit them tomorrow.

We are asking for a small donation to help us reach our goal and make ESIMBI DIGITAL a reality for congolese kids with big dreams!

In partnership with the company Smartspin, we need to raise £8500 to make this project possible and successful.

You can view all the details of the project here. I would be pleased to hear your feedback too.

Do you support any organisations? If so, how did you choose the right one for you?

Link to our website:

https://www.esimbi.org/donate

 

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The fashion industry: how this industry can revive the Congolese economy.

The fashion industry: how this industry can revive the Congolese economy.

How many jobs do you think are in the fashion industry? I am sure the first ones that come to your mind are fashion designer, seamstress and fashion model. In the Congolese community, those are the most mainstream roles in the fashion industry. However, in fashion there are 100 of them, which include and are not limited to Marketing, Finance, Beauty and Operations. So if the question is can the fashion industry revive the Congolese economy? The Answer is yes, it can be one of the driving forces.

In 2015 Fashion was a $1.2 trillion global industry, which included luxury fashion, fast fashion and accessories (bags, jewellery, watches and shoes). Fashion and apparel industries employ 1.9 million people in the United States and the UK fashion industry is estimated to support 850,000 jobs. The number of people that work in this industry in Congo is unknown to me.

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So why and how are Congolese people so limited in their understanding of an industry they swear to love? If you do not understand what I am speaking of, I am speaking of Sapologie. A term engrained in the brain of every Congolese person regardless of whether they were born inside or outside of both countries respectively.

La Sape, an abbreviation based on the phrase Société des Ambianceurs et des Personnes Élégantes (French; literally “Society of Ambiance-Makers and Elegant People”) and hinting to the French slang word sape which means “attire”, is a subculture centered on the cities of Kinshasa and Brazzaville in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Republic of Congo respectively. An adherent of La Sape is known as a sapeur.[1] The movement embodies the elegance in style and manners of colonial predecessor dandies.

As Congolese people, we have created a subculture that has been features and respected by not only other African countries, but globally by the likes of African American singers Solange and Jidenna but also, the Chinese community who were heavily involved in Congolese music through Papa Wemba. So if our industry already has a name, already has an impact and is influencing people all across the globe, how are we not or rather how have we not developed a sustainable industry that can create thousands of jobs across both nations and fuel the passion of many artists in that industry?

The main reason is that fashion is not taken seriously, and like any other art, is dismissed over the likes of studies in business, medicine, education and engineering. However, there comes a time when thinking must change and new entrepreneurial ways must be accepted in order to see change.

Why develop Congo’s fashion industry?

The industry is set to double in value in the next 10 years to generate up to $5trillion annually. This presents a huge opportunity for business in Africa, as the combined value of apparel and footwear in sub-Saharan Africa was estimated at $31 billion in 2016.

The fashion industry holds amazing potential to motivate and bring change to some of the most vulnerable people, especially women and children, while advancing the structural transformation needed in the industry and in the country.

The role of creative industries in Congo Kinshasa and Brazzaville.

With 13 million young African joining the labour force on a yearly basis, the development of skill based industry, where people can learn on the job and gain qualifications in a labour intensive sector is imperative to for the stability of our nations. Fashion uses our culture and creativity as a selling point, which can be leveraged both within and outside of the continent.

What can we do to change this?

Investment, training and the industrialization of the industry. There are many more roles outside of being a seamstress in fashion, from textile designer to fashion forecaster, the roles are endless. Let’s broaden the minds of the people in the industry.

Africa currently accounts for just 1.9% of global manufacturing. That figure does not just relate to fashion. With having raw materials available, Congo should focus on moving to the top of the value chain and produce garments targeted at the home and international audience.

Strategic support and investment in local manufacturers should allow the Congolese fashion industry to steadily grow and become an entity of its own