as an addition to my previous post Les Sapeurs, battle of the dandies here is an interesting -and beautiful- book that deserves your attention, ‘ Gentlemen of Bacongo‘ by Daniele Tamagni (hardcover – Jun 1, 2009).

It was brought to my attention by fellow blogger A.G.Nauta Couture who wrote an interesting post on Les Sapeurs du Congo

See also this video-report from the night club Saint-Hilaire in Kinshasa in August 1967

At the same time a new fashion was emerging in the Saint-Hilaire and other clubs in Kinshasa. To dress perfectly like Europeans. It had begun 500 yards across the Congo River in Brazzaville but had spread to become a cult of elegance among young Kinshasans.

They were members of what they called La Societe des Ambianceurs et des Personnes Elegantes – Sapeurs for short. At the heart of the vision was a dream of Paris. It had started in the 1950s with trying to dress like post-war Parisian existentialists – or “existos”, but now it was all about wearing labels like Dior.

See also In pictures: Congo migrant fashion show

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excerpts from the blog by Adam Curtis 

4 thoughts on “Gentlemen of Bacongo by Daniele Tamagni

  1. Hello,

    My name is Lorraine..

    I hope that you might be able to help me…I am looking for the owner of the old Carlton Hotel in Johannesburg.. I believe that he has passed away. If possible i need as much information regarding the old Carlton, as i have a grandmother who once worked for the Carlton, who has also passed away..

    From reading journals, and what family members have to say, we believe that she had an affair with either the old owner of the Carlton, or one of his friends.

    Any and all information will be great.

    Thank you,

    1. hello Lorraine,

      thanks for your comment on Soul Safari. The Carlton hotel has been closed since 1997 but the Carlton Centre (shopping mall) on it’s premises still exists.
      You probably can get more information regarding your questions by contacting Nick Papadopoulos. See his email here.

      For more information email Nick Papadopoulos

      See also my previous posts “Last night at the Carlton, Johannesburg”

      and ‘Dan Hill At The Grove’ featuring Dana Valery and introducing Una Valli’

      best regards,


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