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Colin Delfosse

Catch catcheur congo guerrier Kinshasa

Un mot sur l'oeuvre

Le témoignage de Colin Delfosse

In Kinshasa people have been passionate about wrestling since the 60s and 70s. The boundless imagination of the Kinois has transformed this technical, combat sport into a match between witch doctors. Talismans become vital in beating opponents… Nothing is too over the top in a bid to impress spectators and opponents.
Portrait of Ranger.

Le choix de Jean-Denis

Between 2007 and 2010, I made several trips, primarily to take documentary photographs of the world of Congolese wrestlers and then produce an extensive series of portraits of the stars of this sport.
Nothing was easy. Since the Mobutu regime, the Congolese have had quite a tense relationship with photography. They don’t like it because during his rule they thought all photographers were spies. I had to prove my involvement, in order to work on the project and gain access to this world, by returning again and again. In the end the wrestlers let me work even though some of them asked me for money. There were some tense moments. The matches are held in the outskirts of the city, in places that even some Kinois won’t go to. One evening I was followed by some «shégués», street kids. They went through my pockets, shoved me around a bit, I even lost my glasses but it could have been much worse.
But what remains is that this project changed my perception of Kinshasa, made me love this city that I had at first found just noisy and stressful. It was through this prism that I got a glimpse of and understood this country and its philosophy of living day to day, and always with a sense of humour.