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The Congolese Dandies – A Piece Of History

Dressing above everything! The Congolese Dandies, who live in extreme poverty, are always dressed to impress.


The Dandies, who proudly walk the streets in their European attires, belong to a society called “La Sape”, while the movement is called Sapeurism. They are also recognised as the Society of Ambaianceurs and Elegant people who built their identity after World War II when their soldiers brought back clothes from France.

According to a documentary by Russia Today, one of the Dandies named Maxime Pivot from Brazzaville in Congo says, “When you dress up you really are the best”. Pivot, who calls himself the king of colour explains being adorned on the streets of Congo as people shout out “The god of clothes” and “The pride of our area” as they fall to their knees. Pivot who saved up for two years to buy a pair of designer shoes talks about the motive being self-esteem and dignity.

The Dandies take pride in buying expensive clothes, as it is a major requirement in order to belong to their society. The refuse to wear replicas due to the rivalries and reputation on the streets. The Sapeurs say, “price matters”.


Their identity on the streets as the well-dressed, most elegant men is more important than where they live. Whether they borrow, steal or collect loans, their poverty, and financial troubles will always be hidden underneath the expensive clothes they wear.

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