Malikiyya mosque

Congo’s Muslim community is dominated by immigrants from Sahelian West Africa, particularly Mali. The Malikiyya Mosque in Poto-Poto (Brazzaville) shown here dates back to the 1950s, but recent refurbishing had added high minarets silhouetted against the sky.

Pousse-pousse depot

In Brazzaville, where fuel is costly and labor abundant, even large orders of goods are transported by hand. The city’s hand-truck workers are mostly immigrants from West Africa and from neighboring Kinshasa.

Mattresses

Foam rubber is one of the few products which can’t profitably be shipped around the world, so it tends to be manufactured domestically. This batch of mattresses is being moved by hand-truck (one man pulling, one pushing) from the factory in Brazzaville’s industrial zone to the Poto-Poto market.

Airport welcome

In 2005 Mali’s First Lady was scheduled to make a visit to Brazzaville, where the local Malian community organized a well-attended welcome for her at the airport. After they’d drummed, sang and waved flags under the midday sun for a few hours, we were told that her plane never got off the ground in Mali due to mechanical problems.

Inzouloucable

“Inzouloucable” is one of many Congolese neologisms which graft Bantu morphemes onto French syntax. Essentially it means “won’t fade,” and although this cheap, Indian-made fabric doesn’t live up to the name, it shows how Asian manufacturers tailor their brands to specific African markets.