What my first Afro Punk event was like.

What my first Afro Punk event was like.

Saturday 13th of June, I had the pleasure of attending the festival Afro Punk at La Seine Musicale, in Paris for the first time. Headlining the concert was Solange Knowles and Janelle Monae.

I must say that it was surreal to see so much creativity in one place. It was like being on a movie set where new characters coming out of nowhere every 2 seconds. It was amazing.

I made an effort to add some African touch to my outfit as I really didn’t know what to expect there. I was definitely NOT overdressed and felt like I could have been a little bit more extra. It was impressive to be in the middle of so much art.

They had massive flags which I obviously used  to take a picture 🙂 . It was not easy with the wind but we managed to take something nice.

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Here are a few pictures I took at the event. It would be great to hear your comments if you experienced this event in Paris or elsewhere. There is another festival in the desert that I was looking into but I am not sure I will be handle to handle all the nakedness that google search has showed me.. ( ah aha ah)

 

 

 

GOLD CHOKER, Tribal jewellery from NACHO JEWELS , a label from Argentina.

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My friend came from Brazzaville, Congo to display and sell her clothing line, LIPUTA SWAGGA. If you have a minute, please have a look at her amazing work!

 

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If we don’t tell our story who will ?

If we don’t tell our story who will ?

Early 2017, I was still thinking about my trip in Congo which happened in October 2016. With a few volunteers, we organised a talk for over 600 students and a workshop for 250 kids, in the form of a drawing competition for www.esimbi.org . It was truly the most amazing experience of my life.

For the first time, I really felt the pressure of weighting every word because I understood the impact they could have on these young people’s lives. Kinshasa taught us lessons we didn’t expect. They say if you want to be a millionaire, spend time with millionaires. Your entourage will determine who you will become. Jay Shetty once said that we live in the perception that others have of ourselves. We can’t be what we have never seen. So how to bring those exceptional role models to these young people in a country that is in constant trouble? So one day, they can inspire to great things and believe that they can be who they want.

We certainly always seek the results but do we want to go through the process of what it takes to have that lifestyle. A life long commitment to being better than what surrounds us. It is hard. It is hard especially when you live in such conditions like these children in Congo. Everything is a luxury to them, a pen, a piece of paper, water.

The idea of the magazine came from all this thinking. I wanted to do something more. I wanted to give them something that they didn’t have and could keep. The fear kicked in about 5 minutes after thinking about making this magazine happen. What would the content be? Who would design it? What title could fit my thoughts? and so on…

It started to feel too complicated already. But a voice was telling me to just do it. It was necessary, not for me but for them. They needed to see people who came from similar backgrounds going places. They needed to look up to them and be inspired.

So I jumped in. I chose to call it ESIMBI ( meaning “it works” in Lingala ) like my social initiative. I then ask a work colleague who was good with graphic design to help me with a logo. My colleague and I started to do research about Congo, the history, the forest, the artists, the charities, etc…. and what we found was amazing. Tons of content.

www.esimbimagazine.com

 

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My biggest fear was not to find things to talk about. No content to captivate whoever would read this free magazine that was supposed to be a one off. We simply wanted to give the final product to the schools and libraries. But our audience was larger than that. In fact, it was global. So the project ended up catering a niche of people hungry for knowledge. They want education over entertaining, so our goal became bigger.

I am thankful to every one who helped us on this journey. Especially the ones who told me not to do it because it would ruin my fashion career. This project helped me grow into a better version of myself without even knowing it and I simply hope that this magazine will keep going strong. The african community has a narrative to rewrite and we want to contribute to that immensely.

Impression

 

Impression

 

Facts about the Kuba textile from Congo DRC

Facts about the 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.

 

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, Congo RDC.

Let’s chase the waterfalls in Zongo, Congo 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 🙂