A Selection of International Children's and Youth Literature

French / La Réunion (France)

Les rois de la sape
(The kings of style)

Epanya, Christian (text/illus.)
Saint-André (La Réunion): Océan,
2014. – [36] p.
(Series: Océan jeunesse)
ISBN 978-2-36247-083-7

Kinshasa – Fashion – Contest – Lifestyle 

In Matonge, a hip neighbourhood of Kinshasa, the capital city of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, young Elumbu is being harassed by bullish members of the so-called Style movement “La Sape”. The Stylers are part of an African lifestyle movement that attempts to transcend mundane miseries and celebrate everyone’s right to beauty through public appearances in brand-name clothes. Broke Elumbu, with his friends’s help, decides to beat these dandies at their own game in the next fashion show, by dressing in second-hand clothes. The colourful pictures of Lyon-based Cameroonian artist Christian Epanya show realistic scenes of a modern African metropolis. The lovingly portrayed fashion contest provides a perfect occasion to think about appearance and reality in consumer society. Epanya tells this story from a distance, with humorous covert references to contemporary artists such as the well-known Congolese painter Chéri Samba. (Age: 10+)