"Elegance Road" is a photo series by Belgian photographer Alexandre Van Enst that captures the non-conformist style and dandy attitudes of a Kinshasa-based fashion and lifestyle SAPE collective.
The African Society of Elegant People, the “SAPE” was born in the years after the independences of Congo-Brazzaville and Zaire.
Today there are two major schools of “SAPE”, respectively inspired by the French and Japanese aristocracy. They clash with high fashion brands, millimetered steps and gestures, from Paris to Kinshasa, during parades in honor of their founding masters, or simply at the Mass of Sunday.
Codified art of sham, glamor and “hast thou seen” for some, for others the SAPE is a metaphysic, a special relation with the question of being and appearance. Sassy, narcissistic and rebellious, the “sapeur” is a romantic.
"Elegance Road" showcases these heroes of modern times. In the decadent sceneries of the city of Kinshasa, from Lemba to Bandal through Ndjili, Matete and Limete, the “sapeurs” of the "War of hundred years" defy the power in place: the Leopards.
Led by the great masters such as Tshikose, Sesele and Kadhitoza, the Congolese dandies constantly reinvent themselves to shine.
Lawliet | Edited by ☆
It must be bunnies!
This is Lithium. She is a 6 month old rescue kitty from Wanderer’s Rest in Canastota. When we decided to get a cat, we went to WR and they were fantastic. She is super affectionate and has settled right in to our house.
Respect and love your fanfiction writers and fanart artists. They do a lot of work for people to look at without asking for really anything in return.
Friends of a blind bisexual asylum seeker from Cameroon are accusing UK deportation officers of beating him up.
Alain Kouayep Tchatchue fled after the people in his town discovered he was having sex with another man.
Fearing being beaten or killed, the French speaker came to the UK in order to live and love freely. In his time here, he has found another male partner – another asylum seeker.
The Home Office rejected his claim of asylum and issued a deportation order last week.
Last Saturday (5 April), it was claimed immigration staff took him to Heathrow airport around 4am.
It is claimed Tchatchue protested, saying he had a legal right to be there, and two male members of staff allegedly punched his wrists and upper torso in an attempt to make him submit.
The blind man was then bundled into the van and taken to the airport, his friends claim.
They say he shouted ‘I’m gay, I’m gay! I don’t want to go back to Cameroon!’ as he was being attacked.
A female member of staff, who was supposed to be looking after his welfare, then allegedly proclaimed Tchatchue was too ill to travel and the asylum seeker was returned to Harmondsworth Immigration Removal Centre close to the airport.
On his return, the manager was so appalled by the injuries the police were called.
Reverend Andy Braunston, a friend of Tchatchue, has written to the director of public prosecutions Alison Saunders to ask the immigration staff to be prosecuted.
‘Alain is a blind man who uses a white stick to get around and who has fled here because of fear of the violence of the state in Cameroon,’ he said.
‘It is shameful that agents of our government have beaten this vulnerable man in an attempt to send him back to persecution.
‘We should be ashamed.’
The UK Border Agency decided in 2010 to allow gay men, lesbians and bisexuals if they were not allowed to live openly in their country of origin.
Before 2010, those seeking asylum were often refused permission on the grounds they could behave with ‘discretion’ when returned.
However, some activists believe the attitude remains when it comes to bisexual refugees as it is apparently easier for them to be ‘discreet’.
When contacted by GSN, Harmondsworth Immigration Removal Centre refused to comment.
(The title is a link to the original article)
The tiger keelback (Rhabdophis tigrinus) has been annoying pedants the world over for years by being both venomous and poisonous. It’s not very big (2-3 feet) and subsists mostly on a diet of amphibians. It’s not terribly aggressive, strongly preferring to either play dead during low ambient temperatures or run away during higher ambient temperatures.
Above: Part of the “no, seriously, I’m dead” display is flattening out their necks to better show off their orange stripes. There’s apparently some question as to whether this is an aposematic display, but given the fact that it’s venomous, poisonous, and how many other snakes that do the neck thing as a “fuck ooooooooooff” display, I’d say the answer is probably that yes, it’s an aposematic display.
They take the playing dead thing pretty seriously, too. I mean, they go limp, which is kind of hilarious in a venomous snake.
Above: What passed for acceptable science in 1983.
There are rattlesnakes out there shaking their heads at this snake.
Part of the lack of significant aggression is probably due to the fact that it’s a rear-fanged snake, which is an arrangement that’s pretty effective if you’re killing small animals to eat them and less desirable if you’re trying to like, keep something thirty times your size from eating you. Rear-fanged snakes tend to have to open their mouths a lot wider to get a decent fang-grip on something, and the venom delivery mechanism can be a sad mockery of efficiency by occasionally requiring the snakes to actually chew on something to get it properly envenomed*.
Above: Western Hognose snake, which is venomous but not in a way that humans need to care about, displaying its sad little fangs.
Front-fanged snakes generally have both an easier time getting a good strike in and a much better injection mechanism.
The poisonous part comes in due to these snakes being in the habit of first eating poisonous toads and then taking the toads’ chemical defenses as their own. Unlike the garter snakes who eat rough-skinned newts and wind up just generally toxic, tiger keelbacks have special glands where they concentrate and store the toads’ poison. Their nuchal glands are found running down either side of their necks, and woe betide you if you break the skin over them. (There aren’t actually convenient ways for the snake to discharge the gland without tissue rupture.) Mothers can and do pass loads of the toxin on to their clutches, assuming they have any to spare, which tides the snakelets over until toad-hatching season brings a ton of snakelet-sized poisonous toads for them to eat.
How confident are these bastards in their nuchal glands saving them?
Above: A snake smacking its neck into something that’s annoying it.
So the answer here is: Extremely confident.
Of course, the functionality of these glands depends on the availability of and their ability to catch the poisonous toads they get their poison from, but the great thing about the toxin is that it’s massively unpleasant (foul-smelling, produces acute burning sensation upon contact with mucous membranes, capable of making you quite sick if you eat it), but it’s probably not going to kill a large animal. So once you’ve had one run-in with a locked and loaded tiger keelback, you really have no particular desire to bite one again, and seeing those stripes come out is going to bring back some really unpleasant memories no matter how much poison that individual snake might be packing.
*Coral snakes do this, for instance. If you feel the need to let a coral snake bite you, please do not sit there and let it chew on you just because it is tiny and kind of ridiculous.
[Snake-Humiliation Olympics photo from “Death-Feigning Behavior of the Japanese Colubrid Snake Rhabdophis tigrinus.” Akio Mutoh. Herpetologica, 39:1 (Mar., 1983), pp. 78-80; Neck-butting photo from “Nuchal glands: a novel defensive system in snakes.” Akira Mori. Chemoecology, 22 (2012), pp. 187–198.]