"La Sape was truly a revolutionary behavior, It expressed both resistance and the assertion of an African identity with a global outlook"
The sape movement — from the French acronym for the Society of Ambiance-Makers and Elegant People is a social phenomenon that glorifies elegance and style.
The movement gained steam in the 1960s in both parts of Congo, Brazzaville and Kinshasa. It was allegedly a blend of the country's appearance-centric traditional culture and a social protest against colonialism. La Sape originally emerged in the mid 1920s, when André Matsoua, a soldier from Pool, in southern Congo, came home after the Rif War, armed with stylish clothes and a fierce desire to fight for his country's freedom. In a protest against the fate of demobilized infantrymen, Matsoua refused to take off his uniform. By the 1960s, the issue had evolved. The years following a country's independence often lead to the crumbling of society and the establishment of dictatorships. In the Congo, those years led people to resort to clothing as a way to express their discontent.