Rare fashion show gives hope in violent eastern Congo

In this photo taken Saturday Dec. 23, 2017, A model display a creation by Miki Sikabwe during a fashion show in Beni Eastern Congo . Young Congolese designer Miki Sikabwe has trained in Rwanda, Burundi and Kenya, but hasn't gotten the chance to show her work locally in eastern Congo for years because of insecurity. (AP Photo/Al-Hadji Kudra Maliro)

Rare fashion show gives hope to people in violent eastern Congo, where deadly rebels roam

BENI, Congo — Congolese designer Miki Sikabwe has trained in Rwanda, Burundi and Kenya but never had the chance to show her work at home because of insecurity.

That changed over the weekend, when a handful of designers presented the first fashion shows in eastern Congo's city of Beni in years. It was a welcome distraction for residents who have faced attacks by Allied Democratic Forces rebels and other armed groups that have killed thousands over the past three years.

"I am happy to be exhibiting my necklaces and clothes made with local products here in Beni and I believe this will give hope to the people here," Sikabwe said, also showing off men's clothing made from bright African wax prints.

She and thousands of others in eastern Congo have wondered when the violence will end. Earlier this month, ADF rebels attacked the local United Nations mission, killing 15 Tanzanian peacekeepers and five Congolese soldiers in the single deadliest assault on a U.N. peacekeeping mission in nearly 25 years.

Uganda and Congo have launched a joint military offensive against the rebels, bringing optimism to a region that has known violence for decades.

Beni's fashion week was canceled in 2014 after rebel attacks began in earnest, killing some 1,000 people within months.

Mayor Nyonyi Bwanakawa said he believes the city is becoming safer.

"We would like to show the world that in Beni, and in northeast Congo, there is life and tourists can come here," he said. Beni lies at the foot of Mount Ruwenzori, which is surrounded by the well-known Virunga National Park.

Over the weekend, nearly 600 people packed into a nightclub for the fashion show featuring colored loincloths, masks and traditional materials designed into modern styles.

Roselyne Mbiya was the lead designer, using Congolese fabrics mixed with floral designs and lace.

She said some of the show's proceeds will go to women who have been raped by the ADF rebels, saying they need to feel they are still loved by society.

Related News

Daughter of Motown stars to Detroit students: Find your beat

Aug 11, 2016

The daughter of Motown Records founder Berry Gordy and one of its biggest stars, Diana Ross, says young Detroiters should learn about their city's rich artistic legacy _ then forge their own path

Stephen Colbert, Showtime in talks for live election special

Aug 11, 2016

Showtime is in talks with Stephen Colbert to host a live election-night comedy special, the channel's chief executive says

Taran Killam and Jay Pharoah each land a Showtime series

Aug 11, 2016

Taran Killam and Jay Pharoah will each star in their own half-hour comedy series for Showtime

You may also like these

Bollywood's Shah Rukh Khan gets US apology for airport stop

Aug 12, 2016

Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan tweeted that he gets detained at U.S. airports "every damn time" after he was stopped at the Los Angeles International Airport

Is NBC's prime-time Olympics due for a change?

Aug 12, 2016

For all the changes media and even Olympics coverage, NBC sticks to a time-honored formula for its prime-time broadcast

After storm halts tribute, A-Rod doubles in Yanks' finale

Aug 13, 2016

His pregame tribute ended by a storm, Alex Rodriguez began his final game with the New York Yankees by hitting a tying first-inning double

Our trendy reporters are fashionistas who love gossips as much as you do. We don’t just report the news, but we report it uniquely so you can read with style, only in Trendy Reporter.

Contact us: sales@trendyreporter.com

Entertainment Award Shows Celebrity Fashion Shows Movies Music Television Programs Press Releases