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The Photo Issue 2007
Wrestlers Of The Congo
In the Congo, wrestling is just as popular as it is in America. The main difference between wrestling in the US and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is that the Congolese like to introduce a mystical, magical "voodoo" element to the pantomime. So...
In the Congo, wrestling is just as popular as it is in America. The main difference between wrestling in the US and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is that the Congolese like to introduce a mystical, magical “voodoo” element to the pantomime. So as well as huge goons wearing spandex and diving off ten-foot-high stages, there’s also the inclusion of “magical traditions” which involve magic powders, spells and zombie-like transformations of wrestlers.
Click on images to enlarge Pictured here: Makasi Tskiwa, 46, well-known as Big Papa T, started wrestling 10 years ago. These days he lives in England but visited Kinshasa, in the Congo, for the first time in a few years in August last year. Here he’s in the Martyrs stadium in Kinshasa. Big Papa T originally left the DRC because his life was threatened by Mobutu. Now he has his own wrestling club in Haringey, London, and studies criminology at university.
Bougie Rouge (left) gets ready to defend the colours of Brazzaville, while his magic assistant, Little Buddha, dances for the final match of a five-day wrestling tournament opposing wrestlers from the Mbonge stadium in Brazzaville.
Siboli from Kinshasa celebrates victory surrounded by Congolese supporters from Kinshasa after a match at the Mbonge stadium.
Click on images to enlarge Endingwe from Kinshasa, a Congolese wrestling star, who is obviously possessed, is laid down in a coffin during the final match of the five-day tournament.
Locango Ndoki (the Sorcerer) worships his witchcraft statue before a tournament.
This guy is part of a Congolese marching band who wave spears and blow trumpets to announce the commencement of tournaments.