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Sapeurs exhibition: Fashion with a message

By Ruan Fan (chinadaily.com.cn) Updated: 2016-03-10 16:44 Comments

Sapeurs exhibition: Fashion with a message

A sapeur performs at the opening night of the 21st Francophonie Festival in Beijing, March 9, 2016. [Photo by Ruan Fan/chinadaily.com.cn]

A group of Congolese swept the crowded hallway with their vitality, elegance and tantalizing dances at the French Embassy on March 9, creating a stir at the opening night of the 21st Francophonie Festival.

The performers belong to a society called S.A.P.E, short for The Society of Ambience-Makers and Elegant People. Members of the society display their wishes for peace through a colorful display of quality clothes and their refined conduct, though their living conditions are generally humble.

A 'sapeur' – one who belongs to the society - is by definition non-violent, and in opposition to the bellicose state that characterized Congolese life for many years.

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