Congo fashion show hopes to inspire peace, creativity in region affected by conflict

Category : Human Interest

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. put the final touches on / pʊt ðə ˈfaɪn l ˈtʌtʃ ɛs ɒn / (idiom) – to add the last things to something to complete it

    The designer put the final touches on my costume before I wore it for the show.

  2. decade / ˈdɛk eɪd / (n.) – a period of ten years

    We opened this store in 2011 and have successfully operated this business for over a decade.

  3. coexistence / ˌkoʊ ɪgˈzɪs təns / (n.) – the fact or state of living together in the same place or at the same time

    The different families living in the small village enjoy their peaceful coexistence.

  4. stylist / ˈstaɪ lɪst / (n.) – a person whose job is to make something look beautiful or attractive

    A well-known stylist designed the celebrities’ evening gowns.

  5. debut / deɪˈbyu / (v.) – to appear in public for the first time

    The tech company is set to debut its new smartphones in September.


Read the text below.

As she puts the final touches on her latest collection, a fashion designer in Congo sees the pinning, sewing and ironing as a way to send a message to the world.

“Through art, all the colors that we will express, through our clothes, it will be full of emotions, trying to explain what we are going through in our country,” Flore Mfuanani Nsukula says in her Goma workshop.

Conflict in eastern Congo has gone on for decades as myriad armed groups fight for control of valuable mineral resources. There are frequent mass killings, and the violence has triggered an exodus of refugees.

Organizers held the ninth edition of the Liputa fashion show, which they say is an opportunity to inspire peace and peaceful coexistence across Africa. “Africans must be one, be united. It is true that we have a very wide cultural diversity, but this diversity must bring us together,” Cameroonian fashion designer Délia Ndougou said. She presented a collection inspired by her nation’s flag.

“We really wanted to convey joy in the clothes, peace in the clothes, very cheerful styles, a question of making the world smile,” added Chadrac Lumumba, a creative stylist from Kinshasa.

The Goma show featured designers, models and artists from Cameroon, Senegal, Burundi, France, the U.S., and more.

“We think we have sent a message to say that all these people who have come from elsewhere, that means that the situation is already improving,” Nsukula said after debuting her new collection on the runway.

“We had those who came from the Central African Republic, Cameroon, USA, France, to come and present their collections. That means that there is hope, security, with time, it will improve.”

In addition to highlighting Congo’s fashion industry, the show also aims to promote a more positive view of the continent. “We presented these collections, not only to sell the visions of these creators, but to show that in Africa, in (Congo), the areas that are considered ‘red,’ we can do things there that we see in other countries that have peace,” says organizer David Ngulu.

“I think that each creator contributed to love, peace and living together,” he said.

This article was provided by The Associated Press.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

  • Do you think art is an effective way to communicate what people are going through in their countries? Why or why not? Discuss.
  • Given the chance, how would you like to express what people in your country are experiencing (ex. through a documentary, through a theatrical play)? What specific scenario would you like to show or promote through it? Discuss.

Discussion B

  • In your opinion, is peaceful coexistence possible in a country where there is wide cultural diversity? Why or why not? Discuss.
  • Is there a wide cultural diversity in your country? What activities do you think can be done that will bring people together (ex. community events, volunteer work)? Discuss.
Category : Human Interest