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    10/15/2007 5:50am

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    Mukumbusu: African martial art/combat sport

    Very long, very academic and very interesting account of mukumbusu, a martial art/street fighting style/combat sport practiced in Kinshasa, the capital of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

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    Fighting boys, strong men and gorillas: notes on the imagination of masculinities in Kinshasa.

    Publication: Africa

    Publication Date: 03/22/2007

    Author: Pype, Katrien

    ABSTRACT

    The article provides insight into the current violent practices of urban youngsters in Kinshasa. At nightfall youth gangs transform the streets of Kinshasa's townships into arenas of the fight. Frequent regular clashes between these gangs create young violent leaders, who not only sow terror but also provide security for the inhabitants (young and old) of their territories. Although many of these boys and young men are trained in foreign fighting styles such as judo, jujitsu and karate, in the public clashes between the fighting groups, these boys and young men perform mukumbusu. This fighting style, inspired and based on the gorilla, was invented during the last decade of colonialism, and is an original mixture of a traditional Mongo wrestling practice, libanda, and Asian and Western fighting practices. In the article, I scrutinize the practices of these young fighters through the diverse images of masculinity (kimobali) upon which they draw, such as the fighter and the soldier; and the models of masculinity that they contest, the sapeur and the staffeur.

    RESUME

    L'article apporte un eclairage sur les pratiques violentes recentes de jeunes urbains a Kinshasa. A la tombee de la nuit, des bandes de jeunes transforment les rues des cites de Kinshasa en arenes de la peur. Les heurts reguliers et frequents entre ces bandes creent des jeunes meneurs violents qui sement la terreur, mais aussi assurent la securite des habitants (jeunes et vieux) de leur territoire. Si beaucoup de ces garcons et jeunes hommes sont entraines aux styles de combat etrangers tels que le judo, le jujitsu et le karate, ils pratiquent egalement le mukumbusu lors des combats que se livrent les groupes en public. Ce style de combat, inspire du gorille, a ete invente dans la derniere decennie du colonialisme. Il allie de maniere originale une forme de lutte traditionnelle Mongo, le libanda, et des pratiques de combat asiatiques et occidentales. L'article examine les pratiques de ces jeunes combattants a travers les diverses images de masculinite (kimobah) dont elles s'inspirent: le combattant et le soldat; ainsi que les modeles de masculinite auxquels ils s'opposent, le sapeur et le staffeur.

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    This article examines violent practices in Kinshasa's townships as arenas where several models of masculinity are embodied simultaneously. In particular, I will discuss a group of young fighters who call themselves bakumbusu (sing. mukumbusu), which means 'gorillas' in Lingala, Kinshasa's vernacular language. Violence among Africa's youth has often been described as an expression of resistance to local political conditions (Abrahams 1987; Glaser 1998; De Boeck 2004; De Boeck and Honwana 2004; Smith 2004; La Hausse 1990; Bazenguissa-Ganga 1999; Marchal 1993; Toulabor 1996), but these examinations rarely discuss the violent acts themselves or the movement styles, body decorations and songs that shape the combats, nor do they locate young fighters amongst other sub-groups of local youth culture. Since the early days of urbanization, Kinshasa has witnessed the physical dominance of sportifs (1) or 'youngsters of the fight' (bato ya libanda) in the streets of de townships (De Boeck 2000; La Fontaine 1970), and today's gang clashes are thus not at all a new phenomenon, despite the profound socio-economic, political, and demographic transformation the city has gone through since colonial times. Instead of politicizing the violent outbursts, this article intends to unravel the historical roots and the modern--because mass-mediated- influences on the violent practices, in order to identify the role of violence on the construction of local identities. I thus hope to contribute to the exciting discussion of the ongoing construction of masculinities in post-colonial Africa (Morell 2001; Lindsay and Miescher 2003).

    'Masculinity' can have divergent contents (Gutmann 1997; Cornwall and Lindisfarne 1994), but is here considered to be that field of images concerning what 'real men are and ought to do' that guide the practices and discourses of the young fighting men. This article draws on recent anthropological theories that focus on the work of mass-mediated images and fantasy in the construction of identities and the generation of meaning in a global post-colonial world (Hannerz 1980 and 1983; Abu-Lughod 1997; Appadurai 1991; Weiss 2002; Behrend 2002). It will be argued that imaginative processes are essential in the enactment of gendered practices of post-colonial Kinois sportifs. In contrast to Gilmore (1990), who offers essentialized and 'universal' images of manhood, the data of our field research in Kinshasa require a dynamic approach to ideas of kimobali ('manhood'). This more flexible and historical approach to the production and enactment of masculinities is also the perspective which we will follow throughout this article. First, we discern multiple models of masculinity in Kinshasa (the Pasteur, the soldier, the yankee, the sapeur, the staffeur, the musician, the fighter). In this respect, we agree with Hodgson that 'masculinities, like femininities, are complex, diverse, and dynamic, and a range of masculinities, some dominant, some subordinate, exist in any society' (Hodgson 2001a: 16; Cornwall 1994). Moreover, 'masculinities are multiple, historical, relational and contradictory' (Hodgson 2001b: 109; also Butler 1993; Cornwall 2005: 5).

    Kinois' ideal of manhood is publicly acted out within a public culture where social identity depends upon appearance (elili). Sportifs use their body to become someone, whilst others, like the sapeurs and staffeurs, choose the cultivation of clothes. The training of the male body is a never-ending activity, and there is no pity for the one who slacks his training. Only repetition confirms and reconfirms the identity of these 'people of the fight' as 'strong men' and leaders of their territories. The fighters, who boast about the savage character of their fighting practices, use their bodies as the ultimate site of social existence. Moreover, according to Zarilli, martial arts can be considered as technologies of the body, in Foucault's sense, that is, practices through which humans develop knowledge about themselves (Martin and Foucault 1988; Zarilli 1995: 188). Or, in Foucault's words: they 'permit individuals to effect by their own means or with the help of others a certain number of operations on their own bodies and souls, thoughts, conduct, and way of being, so as to transform themselves in order to attain a certain state of happiness, purity, wisdom, perfection or immortality' (Foucault 1988: 17).

    After an introductory section on the city and the social and historical contextualization of mukumbusu, I will examine the models upon which the young fighters draw to embody their ideal of masculinity. Starting with the image of the soldier, central in boys' narratives about (in-)security and territorial leadership, I will reflect upon these young boys' ambiguous attitudes towards the power-or, better, the lack thereof- of the state. Then, I will move to the specific practices, and the influences of 'traditional' African fighting styles and the foreign martial arts, because these youngsters mix aspects of Mongo and Asian fighting practices with mass-mediated heroes. In the last part of this article, I will focus upon the local networks to which these young boys belong, and file domination of the 'gorillas' over other newer, 'recent' masculinity models like sapeurs ('l'ambianceur') and staffeurs.

    Before moving on, a distinction between these fighting boys and so-called street children, or shegue (which have been studied by De Boeck 2004) needs to be elucidated. Kinshasa's 'children of the street' literally live in public spaces along boulevards (for example Boulevard de 30 Juin in the city centre or along Boulevard Lumumba in Limete) or in cemeteries, whilst the bato ya libanda live in Kinshasa's townships in compounds with their relatives, to which they return after the evening training sessions and the clashes. The shegue also commit violent acts, but these are enacted in the streets, or markets (for example nzando monene, the central market), and they attack all passers-by (young and old, men and women) to deprive them of their money, cell phones, or other commodities. By contrast, the violent practices of the fighting boys that are discussed here are confined to the townships and in the first instance are fought out in the world of young men (boys and male adolescents). Although these young strong boys impose themselves in the public spaces through shouts and bodily posture, they only rarely attack others; if they do so, their particular targets are elderly people who have been identified as witches. The fighting boys are all young boys in that they are not married (marriage being a social marker of adulthood), and often when a fighting boy prepares to marry he withdraws from the fighting group.

    FIGHTING IN TOWN

    During training sessions and fights, the bakumbusu imitate gorillas in their ferocious way of fighting, and even in the sounds they utter. Bending through the knees, bringing the upper body slightly forward, with the arms hanging next to the body, and imitating gorilla sounds, a mukumbusu shows he is about to start a fight (kobanda libanda). (2)

    The influence of the Asian martial arts is clear in the forms of address (Maitre), the kimono as uniform while training and during official sports meetings, and the hierarchy of coloured belts, ranging up from white, through yellow, green, blue and red, to brown and black. In contrast to Asian martial arts, where these different colours also symbolize spiritual strength and characteristics, for the bakumbusu, on the other hand, the belt is only a reflection of their degree of ferocity. Moving up to a higher belt requires a special combat against a Maitre from another dojo (also mono molubunda, masano ya kombunda, often the deserted playgrounds of schools after nightfall). These kinds of formalized combat take place on communal playgrounds, on Sunday afternoons and attract huge crowds.

    In contrast to judo, tae kwondo and other martial arts, where the fight may only take place in the dojo, mukumbusu boys have to prove their physical strength on the street. If one fails to reply in an effective manner to provocations, or if one avoids a fight on the street, one will be punished in one's own ecurie (group of youngsters, based upon territoriality).

    Inspired by Mongo fighting practices of libanda (3) and ikumba--or those from neighbouring ethnic groups such as bosela (Ngombe) and kabobo (Topoke)--mukumbusu is a fighting style that originated during colonial times (1957) in Kinshasa, as a reaction against the 'foreign' martial arts that missionaries and films introduced in the colony. (4) Its appellation in Lingala, bato ya libanda, betrays these influences, but nowadays the word libanda is used in Kinshasa as a general noun to indicate combat sports both in the dojo and on the streets. (5) Nevertheless, when practised in the dojos, the 'martial arts' character of the combat is stressed, whereas in the street clashes (bitumba ya balabala) the local roots prevail. Sources on Mongo culture rarely mention this practice, partly because its most important ethnographers were missionaries. (6) During early colonization the wrestling traditions of the Equatorial Province were brought to Kinshasa, together with its regional migrants. In this urban centre, the villagers came across martial arts from Asian origins and Western fighting styles such as wrestling and boxing (Muka 1970: 18; Renson and Peeters 1994: 203; Tshimanga 2001: 115). They saw the traditional libanda used in the authenticity politics of Mobutu, who organized national fight championships in libanda. (7) Moreover, like the legendary 'rumble in the jungle' fight between Muhammad Ali and Joe Foreman, brought by Mobutu to Kinshasa in 1974, the libanda fights were broadcast on television, which helped to spread the wrestling tradition of the Equatorial Province across the nation. (8) In the early 1970s, on Sundays in Kinshasa's townships, the townsmen would attend these matches (De Boeck and van Synghel, 2005: 180); today, however, these matches are transformed into gang clashes at nightfall.

    Innovation in fighting styles continues to evolve. For example, in the early 1990s the new nzoku ('elephant') combat style was created. Practitioners of these fighting styles (mukumbusu and nzoku) admire the ferocious, ruthless and uncompromising behaviour of these animals, and long to obtain the power and strength that these animals display. By calling themselves gorillas or elephants, imitating their behaviour during fights, and using magical techniques, these young gangsters in Kinshasa go further than documented youth gangs in other African cities who merely adopt the names of animals: the 'Swines' in Soweto, 1960-1976 (Glaser 1998), the 'Cows' in early twentieth-century Durban (La Hausse 1990), or Tanzanian Sungusungu (a species of black biting ants) (Abrahams 1987).

    FIGHTING GROUPS

    The ethnographic data presented here were collected in Kinshasa during fourteen months of field research between February 2003 and April 2005. Unofficial estimates put Kinshasa's population at 7 million inhabitants. (9) The city is located on the banks of the Congo River, facing Brazzaville, the capital of the 'smaller' Congo, the Republic of Congo. According to Vansina's ethnographic typology, Kinshasa is vested on the frontier between two cultural groups, the Kongo and the people of Lower Kasai (Vansina 1965). The Bateke and the Bahumbu are considered the original inhabitants of Kinshasa, but, since the early days of colonization, more than 40 percent of Kinshasa's population has had ethnic Kongo roots. (10) Nevertheless, Kinshasa is believed to be a mirror of the ethnic groups of the country as a whole, who communicate with each other in Lingala, a language derived from the people of the upper Congo River, who even before colonialism used it as their lingua franca (Burssens 1954: 27-30). As in other African countries, Christianity has spread under numerous forms (Gifford 1994), and, in particular, charismatic and Pentecostal churches are at once alternative spaces for becoming modern and the refuge of urbanites who feel betrayed by the promises of modernity. It is impossible to give the exact number of the new churches in Kinshasa, but their impact on both the public sphere and personal lives of Kinshasa's inhabitants cannot be ignored (see De Boeck 2004).

    Observations during training sessions and official meetings between rival groups, interviews with young bakumbusu and their family members and friends, and gossip (basongisongi) about street clashes are the main sources of the information retrieved. Attendance at the street clashes was impossible, as these events normally take place after nightfall and are secretly prepared by the rival gangs. Because police and soldiers try to prevent these violent meetings, the young fighters conceal specific data on time and space for these ritualized combats. Moreover, the street clashes are exclusively masculine activities and are extremely violent, leading to lavish blood shedding, life-threatening wounds and in some cases death, which made it impossible for me to attend these meetings (the truth is: my informants forbade me to be present during these fights!). (11)

    The data were gathered in the communities of Lemba, Matete and Ngaba, three of the 24 communities of Congo's capital. (12) During colonial times, these three communities were part of la cite indigene, or la cite Africaine, which was the Congolese part of town and isolated from the European areas by a neutral no man's land (Capelle 1947: 8). In accordance with colonial housing policies, Matete and Lemba were constructed in 1955 as working-class areas with small and inexpensive houses. Five years later, the population had grown rapidly, forcing the city's government to create four new communities, one of them being Ngaba (so called quartier sattelite or extension du sud). (13) Today, Matete, along with Yolo (a neighbourhood in the community of Limete) is known as the community of sportifs, whilst Lemba, owing to the proximity of UNIKIN (the oldest university in the capital) is often regarded as the community of the intellectuals. In Lemba alone, there are eight dojos, whilst Matete has more than twenty. (14) The main dojo in Lemba is in Lemba Super, and is called le grand libulu ('the big hole'). (15) These communities are ethnically heterogeneous and youngsters identify more with peers from their neighbourhoods and religious groups than with their ethnic backgrounds. The training sessions are private gatherings of boys and young men who belong to a specific group of fighters. Small children are chased away, but Maitres (fighters with higher belts), and young men prospecting for possible membership are welcome observers.

    One of these groups is the bana bolafa ('the bolafa children'), a group of boys between twelve and twenty-five years old, who dominate three streets on the borders of Lemba and Ngaba. These streets are known as la capitale (the capital city) of the bana bolafa, (16) and the members of this group have proclaimed themselves to be 'possessor of all things', which leads them to confiscate mobile phones, to take cigarettes or food from food stalls without paying, and to handle problems with their fists, legs and feet. There are many interpretations of the group's name, depending on the interpreter's point of view. Insiders say that bolafa was simply the favourite 'shout', the verbal (or non-verbal) expression of a local band sung out during musical performances at which the children were always present in the early days of the gang. Other youngsters think that bolafa means 'a lot' (ebele), because it is a huge group of children and youngsters; still others insist that bolafa is a Hindoubill (17) word for 'free', since these bana bolafa do not pay for services or food. Older people, who feel terrorized by these children, understand bolafa to be a Mongo word meaning the cursed children. These bana bolafa operate in the first instance in Ngaba, Lemba and Matete, but recently a sub-group has emerged in Makala (18) (a neighbouring community west of Matete). Their violent actions in the streets have led to a public denunciation of the mukumbusu practices as a whole. Starting in September 2004, these young boys have rejected the authority of their yayas (older brothers). As a result, the older mukumbusu groups have expelled this group from their network, and they are no longer entitled to participate in official competitions between bakumbusu of different dojos. Now the bana bolafa are much feared: they break into the houses along their streets, and beat up students (19) in their territory.

    WE ARE LIKE THE ARMY

    Not all of Kinshasa's youngsters are engaged in these combats: as La Fontaine noted back in 1970, many voluntary associations coexist in Kinshasa, and the young Kinois can choose between fighting groups and scholars' associations, at the two extremes of the various youth groups on offer. The young fighters are less present in the city's 'white' districts (such as Gombe or MaCampagne), or the neighbourhoods where Congo's financial and intellectual elite resides (Limete Residentiel, for example, in contrast to Limete Industriel and Limete Mombele). These elite children are often driven everywhere by private chauffeurs, or they have money with which to bribe aggressive soldiers. By contrast, young men living in Kinshasa's townships have recourse to their muscles to protect themselves against soldiers who attack youngsters with no money, phones or other commodities to hand over. Class background thus structures both the spatial and imaginary life world, and living in financially disfavoured milieus influences the model of masculinity one might try to achieve.

    Young fighters take the soldier (soda) as an important model which they try to embody, although soldiers have inscribed themselves in acts of violence from above. As in other African countries, violence enacted by soldiers in Kinshasa can be read as a reflection of the difficult political process towards a democratic system, a process which seems to take forever. Officially, transition was introduced into Congolese political life with Mobutu's public announcement of the Second Republic's failure in April 1990. More than fifteen years later, with the promised first election of a Western-inspired democratic government endlessly delayed, Kinois are losing hope. The President, his four vice-presidents, and his battery of ministers and politicians, are no longer trusted by the population and are considered to be postponing the elections deliberately in order to enrich themselves and their families for as long as possible. As 'accomplices' of the ruling government, policemen and soldiers are not respected, and are more often than not ridiculed for being the first to infringe law and order. In early 2005, four gas stations in the townships became the cruel arena in which military men inverted their role as guardians of civilian security. At nightfall, the gas stations were flooded by armed men wearing military uniforms, extracting the money people had made during the day, and shooting and killing station servants and customers. Justice wana eza faux (this justice is false) say the Kinois, using the true--false axis, which is a powerful paradigm within local meaning structures. The false (lokuta) belongs to Satan, the eternal imitator of God, who is the sole origin and inspiration of the true (ya solo) and the truth (bosolo).

    Nevertheless, the figure of the soldier remains today one of the main heroes for Kinois male youth, (20) because, ideally, he incarnates physical strength, expresses social and moral power, and protects the citizens. The army (now global as well as national in composition) inspires many of the names of the youth groups--Onu britannique in Kingabwa, or effbm in Ngaba--but the data of La Fontaine (1970) confirm that this is a constant in Kinshasa's youth culture. The latter is an acronym of ecole de formation des forces blindees militaires and refers to a military school in Mbanza-Ngungu, a provincial town about 40 kilometres south-west of Kinshasa, in the province of the Lower Congo. Its members explain that they have adopted this name because 'Just as entering this military division is very hard, membership of youth gangs also demands a great physical endurance. Only des poids lourds (strong boys) can bear the hardship of the street.' Even some songs sung to encourage the fighters are stolen from soldiers' practices: for example nalela nalela Matusa, butu na moyi tobetana masasi (I love I love Matusa, (21) day and night, we can always fire bullets).

    STRONG MEN

    The soldier is only one of the multiple models that these young fighters select for 'becoming a man'. 'A real man' is expressed in Lingala as moto ya makasi which means 'a strong man' (un homme fort), and synonyms in Lingala for virility like bokasi (strength), mpiko (courage), bolombe (heroism) and nkonzo (force: a Hindoubill word) emphasize bodily strength for social prestige. This model of manhood has three distinct concretizations, or ideal types: the physically muscled man, the wealthy man and the spiritual strong man. The first type of homme fort is realized in the literal sense through these sportifs, who gain social esteem through their physical strength: muscles and physical power are the grounds upon which they claim their dominance and status. The bato ya libanda embody this most basic type of the local ideal of masculinity of homme fort (moto ya makasi, strong man). Second, wealthy men like politicians and musicians, but also successful traders, become 'real men' through their financial potency and easy entry into the West (lola, heaven). Third, Pasteurs (pasta) and their servants are in a spiritual way bato ya makasi, providing security against invisible rivals such as witches, demons and the devil. Moreover, the Pasteur embodies more and more the ideal type of masculinity, since he integrates all three aspects of Kinshasa's normative model of manhood. Pasteurs acquire from their followers material goods such as cell phones, Mercedes cars and designer clothes, and show off their luxury in public and semipublic spaces. The wealthier the Pasteur, the more in touch with God he is believed to be, since his luxury is evidence of thank-you gifts from satisfied followers. In their sermons, they talk enthusiastically about spiritual battles with Satan. They often jump up and down just like sportifs warming up in training, or they show their fists, beating up imagined demons.

    Just as the Pasteur and the rich man demand respect, Kinshasa's strong men are feared and admired for epitomizing the ideal of moto ya makasi (strong man). In this literal enactment of strong man, one remarks a continuum with a more 'traditional' ideal of masculinity as described in ethnographies of village settings. For the Congo region Paul notes that 'the strongest or the most skilful wrestler attained a leading position within local play groups, formal age classes, or boys' societies' (Paul 1987: 40). Wrestling victories endowed people with prestige, social mobility and a higher social status (Paul 1987: 41). These strong men are both feared and respected in the community. Family and neighbours feel protected by the physical strength of their sons, brothers or friends.

    Importantly, their social status of big men (socially important because admired) not only stems from the protection they offer their community, but also from their relations with other highly respected men. These bakumbusu and other sportifs are linked through a multiplicity of capillaries of patronage and influence to other 'big men' (important people within society), which are social networks characterized by Bayart as typical for rhizome states (Bayart 1993: 218-27). Within these knots of relations, social power and esteem depend on a balancing of the statuses of the persons involved, and the positions within these social relations are constantly renegotiated and reconstructed. (22) The sportifs are both 'big men' and 'small men', shifting positions in diverging social relationships in which the most successful musicians, other local stars and the young fighters of the communities are implicated. Especially musicians, who have realized the dreams of all Kinois concerning travel to Poto (Europe) and financial ease, are sought after by young boys who aspire to be accepted within such an entourage. Werrason, with his manzaka ya nkoy ('the angels of the leopard'), (23) Felix Wazekwa, Dakumuda and other musicians, hire these youngsters as bodyguards. (24) Wealthier men and women in the neighbourhood or local stars, such as leaders of theatre companies, try to develop patron--client relationships with these strong boys, who are thus at once big and small. In return for money and commodities like Western designer clothes or mobile phones, or even cars, these sportifs offer their physical strength to other important people. Both parties involved are thus at once patron and client. When some of Lemba's Maitres sit on a terrace drinking beer on Avenue Sefu, the main road in the oldest part of Lemba, they are constantly greeted by passengers, or people stop by and give them some money or even their watches or other items. With these gifts men and women engage themselves in a relationship with the strong men whose protection services they request.

    THE BUSH IN TOWN

    The people of the fight possess and exercise a power (pouvoir, bokonzi) that is experienced in their immediate environment. Power, that 'probability that one actor within a social relationship will be in the position to carry out his own will despite resistance' (Weber 1964: 152) is vested in their physical strength, but the radius of their power is limited by geographical frontiers the youngsters have set for themselves. Very early in Kinshasa's history of urbanization, youth gangs re-territorialized their neighbourhood into small rival units, secteurs, controlling their territory and its inhabitants (De Boeck 2000; Bazenguissa-Ganga 1999). (25) This unofficial power should be understood within the informal governance of young males in their streets. All communities in Kinshasa are informally divided into different secteurs (sections) that in general consist of several avenues or whole neighbourhoods in the community. Sometimes these sections do not follow the official frontiers between the communities: examples of these gangs are Armee rouge (Lemba, Matete, Ngaba), bataillon zoulous (Lemba, Ngaba), colonie blindee (Ngaba), bana bolafa (Ngaba), ecurie bende bende (Lemba), sekai mama (Matete), bureau deux (Matete), les yakuza (Lemba). (26) Their dominance is a reality for both the other residents in the territories and their visitors, but is in the first instance exercised amongst the young. The violent clashes also are only rarely directed against persons others than members of other youth gangs. The behaviour of male youngsters entering other communities is guided by this micro-politics exercised by the local youth. One gorilla residing in Lemba told me: 'If I visit someone in Matete, I have to walk in an impressive way, that is, I have to show my muscles and look all the other young boys straight in the eyes. If I fail to do so, they will knock me down. We do not get along.' 'One man governs la commune (the neighbourhood) a propos des sports.' At the time of my research, Maitre Bambou was the unquestioned chief of Lemba. Il coiffe na Lemba (27) (he governs in Lemba), aza mokonzi (he is the chief), it was said.

    In order to prove their dominant position, in first encounters with mukumbusu boys, leaders of gangs (mostly Maitres) eagerly show their scars and other traces of fights, proving the risks taken and their embodiment of homme fort (strong man). Every community has several mythic Maitres whose status of 'big man' or 'homme fort' is confirmed by (re)telling their most bloody and legendary fights and victories; and becoming the leader of one of the youth gangs depends on such proofs of physical endurance. Moreover, power positions within these youth groups are constantly contested, and have to be reaffirmed again and again. For example, Bolafa Junior, who became the leader of the bana bolafa after a historic fight in which he had his back split open, walks around with pictures taken at the event and lets them circulate amongst the young boys of Ngaba and other groups of bana bolafa and sportifs to prove how he earned--and still earns--his position as president of the most ferocious youth gang of Lemba-Ngaba-Matete.

    Their physical strength is gained from technologies of the self or practices of care for the body and spirit, and in this realm physical preparation for fights and dojo combats make up an important ingredient. In training sessions, attention is paid to close body contact, grasping of the other's body (kokanga nzoto). In contrast to street clashes where weapons are used, the combats in the dojo centre on a manifestation of 'knowing where and how to hit'. In 1937, an observer of Mongo libanda fights described the rules as follows: 'the fighters can only touch their adversaries on the upper body or the lower back. The one who can throw his rival on the ground, wins the game' (Weber 1937: 89). (28) Today, the fighters still take hold of each other at close quarters and try to make the opponent fall, but they have added all kinds of hits, which are given with balled fists--in the belly, on the back and in the face--and pulling on the arms is also accepted. One defends oneself through hitting back, or manipulating the body so that the other's kicks and moves do not touch the body, but both fighters are still holding on to each other. In some contests, one fighter jumps on the other, pushing him to the ground, but it is rare to see a body lifted. The battles usually go on for several hours, but the fighting itself is limited to two minutes, after which a small break enables the fighters to catch their breaths and renew their strength, to dance and/or to receive advice from supporters.

    An important technology to gain power is the use of magic (Fr. fetiche). In the 'older days' (in the Equatorial region but also in Kinshasa during colonial times), the fighters wore power objects (nkisi, mono), such as cords under the armpits, around the ankles, the waist and the penis. These elise (pentacles) were 'worked upon' (filled with spiritual power) by elder women who had evoked the bankoko (ancestors), and they made the fighter very heavy. It is said to be difficult to lift someone wearing powerful bankisi (magical objects), since the magical protection gives invisible weight. Nowadays, young fighters pay feticheurs (traditional healers, sing. nganga) to make incisions in their thumbs, wrists, lower back, and around the ankles, and fill them with gorilla's ashes (poussiere ya mukumbusu). (29) These youngsters believe themselves to be invincible when they have these ashes in their blood; in case of loss, instead of the fighter's skills the healer's reputation is questioned, or it is reasoned that the fighter might not have fulfilled all the conditions these healers demand (not washing oneself on the day one visits the feticheur, for example, or not having sexual intercourse before the fight).

    In street clashes between gangs they are entitled to use every kind of weapon found, and in whatever way it seems best. During the training sessions (bomeka libanda), the ability to withstand physical pain is one of the most important topics. In contrast to the martial arts, bakumbusu have only one rule, and this rule is that there are no rules when fighting. 'Eza mubulu!' say both outsiders and insiders: chaos all around! And, if there is a rule, then the only rule is that one should never give up. Empty bottles, knives, and machetes are objects which are not that hard to find, but to maximize their propensity to injure opponents, bato ya libanda also use handmade objects, the most important being bakayesu, moshako and likofhi ya ngombe (literally 'blow with the fist of a cow'). When bakumbusu are training (komeka libanda), they hardly use these instruments, but one learns to defend oneself against such weapons. Because from time to time, police and soldiers make surprise visits to the homesteads of known fighters, these weapons are hidden, and are moved regularly from their secret storages. They are only taken out for big combats between different gangs. Each one of these instruments refers to a different aspect of the urban libanda culture. The bakayesu represents the cross on which Jesus died. It is made of a small wooden stick that is about thirty centimetres long, with nails attached at the top. This is mounted on the metal hub of a car wheel and the whole device can be strapped to one forearm. For outsiders, the use of Jesus's name illustrates the devilish character both of this 'sport' and of the youth gangs who cultivate it, but the bakumbusu themselves are silent concerning this blasphemy. The moshako is made of two small wooden sticks (each about ten to fifteen centimetres long), which are attached to one another by an iron cord, optimalizing the unpredictability of the directions the two sticks may follow. When explaining this instrument, bakumbusu referred to Jackie Chan, who used this weapon in his films. The likofhi ya ngombe is made of a layer of thick irons cords, to which nails are attached. This layer can be put on as a glove, with the sharp ends of the nails protruding from the upper part of the back of the hand. In using small or larger materials plucked from modern commodities like cars, and other technical equipment (nails, iron cords), these young fighters deconstruct and reconstruct modernity.

    The urban lyrics--both in Lingala and Lomongo--which are sung during training sessions and clashes, but never during formal meetings in kimono, underscore a return to the bush. (30) In this way, bakumbusu and other 'people of the fight' transform the cityscape into an urban jungle, imagining for themselves and others a setting for the law of the physical strongest man (De Boeck 2004: 62)--exemplified in one of the songs mukumbusu boys and other sportifs sing when preparing themselves for a combat:

    lelo lelo libeba eeh lelo libeba eeh
    bango moko bango moko ba zo banga
    zamba eh zamba zamba eh zamba

    today today there will be ructions (2x)
    they will be afraid they will be afraid
    the forest eh the forest eh the forest



    The dances, in which the gorilla is imitated, invoke the 'spirits of the fight' (molimo ya etumba). These performances 'may create an affective state in a non-play context in which the individual is able to commit acts of violence which are normally taboo', as Hanna has noted for African warrior dances (Hanna 1977: 119). Other material preparations are made to heighten the physical strength of the combatants. Collecting the fight instruments and painting the face with black, red and white paint (31) are the two main rituals of the youngsters just before the street fight begins. The act of painting--of applying makala (coal), ashes of burned tires (ble in Kikinois), ngola (a reddish fluid from the ngola tree) and emolo (the powder of mabele, kaolin) to one's face--transforms these urban boys into fierce fighters. Bakotisa face ya zaguer (they render strong the frightening face), it is said of the function of this facial colouring. Kinshasa's fighters attribute the same symbolic meaning to the colours as Devisch (1993) noted for Yaka rituals and Turner (1974) for Ndembu rituals. The black, acquired through either raw charcoal (makala), or the ashes of burned tyres (ble), signifies death, both the real death of the opponent and his symbolic death, forecasting the outcome of the fight. In a traditional setting, during rituals, coal lines on the face refer to 'the marks of the violent and bloody work of abusive sorcery' (Devisch 1993: 68). Coal and ble are put on the face, marking two lines on the cheeks and around the eyes.

    The red lines, applied in a horizontal line across the forehead and on the wrists and upper arms, refer to blood, because 'you have to fight until the rival is bleeding'. Moreover, it is believed that the black and red invoke the spirits of the savage animals embodied while fighting, which shows only a slight reinterpretation of the meanings of these two colours in village settings--where, for example in the Lower Congo, the combination of black and red stands for malevolent forces (Jacobson-Widding 1979: 303). Pembe or emolo (kaolin), which gives a white colour, is only used within the dojo, since this material does not invoke aggression. In contrast, it evokes calmness and instils coolness in the training place. Only when a street fight starts are black and red colours put on the body. (32)

    The urban 'warriors' situate themselves in a traditional, pre-colonial moral geography where the forest (zamba), spirits (sing. molimo) and the night (butu) are intrinsically intertwined as a locus of evil (mabe). This triad also influences their practices. Both training sessions (bomeka lobunda) and clashes between groups (kokende baotsua) usually take place at nightfall (33) and most of the provocations of other libanda groups are exchanged during matanga (mourning events). In October 2004, during a matanga (funeral) in Lemba, Avenue Ngina, the Zoulous (a group of sportifs of the neighbouring community, Matete), challenged the bakumbusu of Lemba: 'Nobody is stronger than we are'. The word spread around, and a few days after the provocation, a combat over leadership of the district Matete-Lemba began.

    Rituals do not inspire the application of those black lines, but my informants mentioned Arnold Schwarzenegger in Terminator, whose facial paint they imitated. Most young fighters refer to Jackie Chan and Arnold Schwarzenegger, two heroes of distinct fighting traditions, as their models. Both have entered Kinshasa through films, and they have led the bakumbusu boys and men to situate themselves in different imaginary spaces, both in traditional fighting events in village settings and in modern international spectacles. American wrestling shows, Asian martial arts films and American action films are brought closer to the daily lives of the Kinois male youth by the adoption of screen names. Many of these urban young fighters have nicknames such as Bruce Lee, Terminator, Jackie, Chinois, Ken, Goldberg. (34) These media products show virile men, who are self-confident, in control of everything, energetic and dynamic. They control their health and are able to confront any physical danger; in a word, they are invincible. 'To envision oneself as a Bruce Lee ... executing a dynamic high kick, is to enter the fantasy, not the actuality, of having power and control over one's environment' (Zarilli 1995: 206). In this sense, the phenomenon of mukumbusu is a product of certain imaginative works of modernity.

    RIVALRIES WITH SAPEURS AND STAFFEURS

    In the following part of this article, I will concentrate on the relations of the sportifs with other youth groups in Kinshasa. The bakumbusu are in a constant symbolic battle with other groups of youth for the favours of the musicians and other patrons, and for symbolic dominance in the neighbourhood, a quest for the incarnation of the 'yankee'. This symbolic type is linked to the consumption of Westerns in movie theatres, which propagated the cowboy as a new ideal of masculinity. (35) Others have described the impact of colonial cinema on urban youth in the late 1950s and early 1960s of colonial Congo (De Boeck 2000; Gandoulou 1989; Gondola forthcoming). For an analysis of the construction of masculinities, the local 'cowboy' adepts, called 'Bills', are important, because these were the first young men who incarnated a modern model of masculinity transposed through mass media. The Bills imitated the clothes and tics of Hollywood actors and screen characters such as Buffalo Bill and Pecos Bill, and grouped themselves in ecuries. These films also created a longing for Western designer clothes, which led to a unique Congolese subculture: the sapeurs. Just like mukumbusu, la sape (Societe des Ambianceurs et des Personnes Elegantes) is a phenomenon dating from colonial times (Gandoulou 1989; Gondola 1999; Friedman 1991). Sapeurs, not only youth but also adults, wrap themselves literally in the griffes (designer clothes) of the West, articulating acceptance of modernity or living 'an oneiric migration to the metropole' (Gondola 1999). They embody a hybrid model of manhood that originated in the hedonistic culture of l'ambiance. This culture was originally occupied by mindele (colonials) and 'free women' (bandumba); it was located in the bar and expressed by modern Congolese music (Biaya 1996). Today, real sapeurs are rare in Kinshasa as economic difficulties make it difficult to live according to sape rules, but the cult is now lived in the less rigid way of le staffeur. These are the younger brothers and the popularized version of la sape, and they mostly live in 'better' areas, amongst families with more financial ease. In the townships, both sub-groups are hostile towards each other. 'Etre staff' means to be well dressed (but not wearing griffes exactly), having a car and a girlfriend and money to take one's friends out. Staffeurs and bato ya libanda normally do not talk to each other; they do not greet each other, since they embody different orientations towards the West. The sportifs in general denounce the sapeurs and staffeurs for speaking French, a language that is not African, but is perceived as imposed upon the Congolese by colonization and globalization. The story of the creation of bana bolafa, dating from 2002, illustrates the rival relationships between the different subcultures: 'We were four boys of twelve years old, who had to prepare some tasks for school. To take a break, we would walk into the street. One day, sapeurs provoked us. One of them, another boy of our neighbourhood, told us he was more of a man than we were, who were just going to school. In reply, we asked the older bakumbusu to train us. Within a few months we beat up the sapeurs of our streets, and proclaimed ourselves the leaders of the three streets in which the four of us lived.'

    WILL THE REAL YANKEE PLEASE STAND UP?

    For both groups, bodily ostentation is primarily a sign of identity. Their bodily praxis in the public spaces of streets, or compounds where bands rehearse or perform concerts, is similar. Staffeurs and sportifs walk in the same manner, shoulders high, looking straight forward, bending slightly too far through the knees, and moving very slowly. They give the audience time to contemplate the spectacle of either their clothes (the brands, griffes) or their bodily musculature. (36) Young sapeurs provoke others with their griffes, or staffeurs provoke others with their cars, their mobile phones and their evenings out. Mukumbusu boys and libanda people reply to these provocations with their muscles and animal sounds. Both staffeurs and sportifs take upon themselves the noun 'yankee', which is translated in a recent Lingala-French dictionary as voyou or bandit.

    In daily use in Kinshasa however, it is now a qualification with a positive connotation, attributable to both men and women. Almost all urban sub-groups of youngsters call themselves 'yankee', since the concept has come to designate anyone who does not fear risk. 'Here in Kinshasa, young men and women do not know if and how they will get married. If you want to achieve something, you have to dare to do things which are not accepted. Even adults can be yankee. An adult has to protect his wife and children. Sometimes he has to take certain risks, if not ... well if he cannot protect them, then he is not a strong man,' says Steve, a young staffeur living in the residential area of Limete. His opinion seems to be either confirmed or inspired by the popular song 'Vrai yankee' ('Real yankee') by Bendoson of Viva La Musica

    ... vrai yankee
    azali eeh oyo azali mayele ...
    vrai yankee azali eeh oyo azali oyo
    azali na yango ...
    oyo azali na mbongo oyo bi loko ebele

    ... real yankee
    the one who is smart ...
    a real yankee is like that
    he is smart ...
    he has money and lots of things



    Youngsters who have studied or who are working and are not into violent attacks or street fights, call themselves yankee and deny the yankee character of mukumbusu men and other sportifs. The latter, however, call themselves the 'real yankees'.

    CONCLUSIONS: GENDER, SPORTS AND MASS MEDIA IN POST-COLONIAL KINSHASA

    Discourses on masculinity (kimobali) in Kinshasa show that this is a complex notion with multiple meanings. As three distinct models of 'strong men' prevail, one can no longer hold an essentialized and ahistorical approach towards gender. Embodying a certain type of masculinity is the result of the interplay of societal imperatives and personal concerns that lead to taking up a particular lifestyle; both are 'strategies of survival under compulsory systems' (Ferguson 1999: 99). In the enactment of a traditional fighting event, libanda, Kinshasa's sportifs simultaneously embody tradition and modernity, two worlds that all too often have been de-/prescribed as irreconcilable. In the street clashes, songs and facial decoration, an imaginary village space is introduced into the neighbourhoods of the townships. Hopping from the rural Mongo setting, from where the fighting style in the main derives, to the modern dojo where the kimono is worn and names like Bruce Lee and Arnold Schwarzenegger are revered, is not experienced as a contradiction. The bakumbusu show how this merging of the traditional warrior and the modern fighter is a deliberate strategy for acquiring more power and esteem amongst fellow fighters and other Kinois.

    The material of the bakumbusu boys and men also explains the importance of sports and transnational television for the construction of masculinities, two ways of consuming modernity--an activity that is to be understood as 'the work of the imagination' and one 'that draws attention to new forms of social identity' (Appadurai and Breckenridge 1995: 5). Mass media are constantly introducing new modern warriors, who replace the traditional libanda champions. Asian and American films projecting strong fighters are domesticated by these youngsters who literally 'become them'. Clothing and naming, two of the most important strategies of identity construction in Kinshasa, are often inspired by these new heroes. They inhabit and act out the virility of the mass-mediated fictive figures. In this way, the masculinity of the young fighting Kinois is 'more real' than the images they imitate.

    ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

    This text was presented at the conference on 'The Congo and the Nordic Countries: encounters and images in the shadow of colonialism' (Museum of Ethnography, Stockholm, 2005). Many thanks go to the organizer, Michael Barrett, and the other participants.

    I also wish to thank Filip De Boeck and Ch. Didier Gondola who have read earlier drafts of this text. Richard Fardon, the three anonymous reviewers of Afn'ca, and Karin Barber made valuable comments on the final version. Finally, my gratitude goes to the young fighters and their entourages, and to my informants for my doctoral research on Christianity and locally produced soap operas who first mentioned this sub-group of local youth culture.

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    (1) The noun sportif refers not only to mukumbusu boys, but also to practitioners of boxing, American wrestling, judo, tae kwondo, and other Asian martial arts.

    (2) The nzoku fighting style, which is only practised in Lemba, has another starting position, which imitates the elephant. A nzoku fighter will put his left foot forward, push his chest forward and put both hands palms turned up to the adversary--in front of the chest, holding the left hand a bit higher than the right hand. These movements are accompanied by a hissing sound.

    (3) Paul 1987 has found a reference for liwanda practised in Lisala. This is either a spelling mistake or a local variant.

    (4) Interview with Maitre Le Casseur, 18 February 2004. For more information about the introduction of sports through missionaries and colonizers in the Congo, see Tshimanga 2001.

    (5) It is questionable however, whether libanda really is a Lomongo word. According to some, it is a loanword from Lingala or from Libinja (personal communication Honore Vinck, May 2005).

    (6) In 'Het offer van Itota (III)' Van Thiel (1951) dramatizes a bosela fight between a Mongo group and a Ngombe group, both ethnic groups in Equatorial Congo. This story is a fictionalized report of thirteen years of living between the Ngombe. There are two other small reports of two pages each on kabubu by Pere Leon Weber (1937) and M. Boutet (1958).

    (7) The emerging new nations in the Third World relied heavily on sport heroes as powerful symbols for national identity (see Baker 1987, Appadurai 1996).

    (8) In contrast to other decolonized countries, there are hardly any writings about a 'politics of sport' by the first Congolese/Zairean independent governments. It is well known, however, that Mobutu encouraged dance and music in his quest for an imaginative national unity.

    (9) In 1984 official statistics counted 2.5 million inhabitants. In December 2004--February 2005, the population has been counted but I have no data of these results (Institut National de la Statistique 1991).

    (10) See Institut National de Statistique (1969: 40).

    (11) My informants forbade me to attend at these clashes, but welcomed me to the training sessions, where their weapons are not used and fighting techniques are learned. Like the rest of the local population, I was informed the day after a battle that a clash had taken place.

    (12) Field research took place in February-March 2003, October 2003-April 2004 and October 2004-April 2005. I worked with actors who produce each week one episode of a series. The main community of my field research was Lemba. I was gradually introduced to the world of the sportifs through the contacts these actors had with bakumbusu boys. My female identity seems to have been pushed aside by my 'foreign' identity, which triggered a sense of pride amongst these youngsters to explain their practices.

    (13) Institut National de la Statistique (1969: 11-15).

    (14) In the city centre of Kinshasa, there are hardly any dojos. The distribution of dojos in Limete, a zone squeezed between the city centre and the townships, reflects the general pattern of Kinshasa: in the residential areas there are no dojos. In each one of the neighbourhoods of Kingabwa, Mombele and Industriel, which are more like the cites in terms of population, housing infrastructure, and informal activities, there is one dojo.

    (15) Le grand libulu ('the big hole') may be a reference to a dangerous road going from Kinshasa down south to Kikwit (province of Bandundu). This road was the working zone of bandits raiding the drivers and their passengers (personal communication from F. De Boeck, July 2005).

    (16) The streets of la capitale of the Bolafa kids are Avenue Gungu, Avenue Barumbu and Avenue Kadiamu.

    (17) Hindoubill is the slang of Kinois male youngsters; see Tchebwa 1996.

    (18) Makala is also a satellite quarter that has been added to the city since 1960 as a result of the continuous increase of the Congolese population (Institut National de Statistique 1969: 14).

    (19) ISTA students seem to be the target of their violent actions. These students are studying engineering.

    (20) See De Boeck (2000), who notices a shift in the image of the hero from cowboy to soldier.

    (21) In this song, the singers refer to the biblical figure Matusa (Methusaleh) who lived more than eight hundred years. In this way, the fighters sing their immortality.

    (22) I thank Karin Barber for highlighting this aspect of African patron--client situations.

    (23) A group of young boys (always fighters) who provide security for the leader of the band, his singers and musicians during their rehearsals and concerts in the 'home compound' of the band. He pays these young men, who are attracted by his success. In the neighbourhood, people know them as the petits ('small ones' or 'children') of Werrason.

    (24) Rehearsal locations of musicians and the sites of their concerts regularly see a high degree of violence, both 'real' and 'imaginary', through the presence of sportifs and the alleged presence of powers of the dark world, as givers of success and takers of sacrifices.

    (25) See also Raymaekers 1960 and La Fontaine 1970.

    (26) The 'Zoulous' and 'Armee Rouge' have allied groups in other communities in Kinshasa (Zoulous 4 in Bandalungwa, Zoulous 7 in Bumbu, Armee Rouge 4 in Limete-Mombele) (Le Phare, 25 March 2005: 5).

    (27) Coiffer, meaning 'dominating', refers to the mystical powers of the hair, makasi ya suki. When a man rules over others, he is said to coiffe (shave the hair of) the others--he dominates in a figurative sense their 'hair', their personal powers. During matches, the public yells at the defeated fighter: oza coiffe--you have lost--he has cut your hair!

    (28) 'Il se deroule selon les regles du jeu: les lutteurs ne peuvent saisir le partenaire que par le buste ou par les reins. Celui qui reussit a jeter ainsi son rival par terre est le vainqueur.' (Weber 1937: 89).

    (29) Gondola (forthcoming), writing about early post-colonial young 'Bills' (1960s) mentions a similar practice, kamons, magical scarifications which gave physical strength and aided them in withstanding pain (p. 24).

    (30) Often, songs are sung about chikwangue (paste based on manioc) and its strength-giving qualities.

    (31) The black--red--white triad is a common thread in anthropological accounts of Bantu rituals (Turner 1974).

    (32) Interestingly, practitioners of games of catch taking place in public put makala, ngola and argil on their faces and arms.

    (33) In May 2005, however, a clash between the 'Salopards' of Yolo and 'the bana bolafa' of Ngaba took place early in the morning around 5 a.m. (www.radiookapi.net, 7 May 2005).

    (34) Cf. Gondola (forthcoming), who mentions nicknames exclusively inspired by American Western films and its popular culture (p. 14).

    (35) To counter the negative influence of Hollywood films on the 'population indigene', missionaries established a Centre Catholique d'Action Cinematographique in Kinshasa (then: Leopoldville). They produced local feature films and documentaries which were distributed throughout the Belgian Congo, Angola, Rhodesia, the French colonies and Mozambique (Martin 1995: 88).

    (36) Both walks have influenced popular urban dance, the first one la frime, which was initially danced by the musicians of J. B. Mpiana, and the second one skantele, which originated in Bandal in 2004. Both these dances mimic the dramatic way in which staffeurs (la frime) and bato ya libanda (skantele) show their bodies.

    KATRIEN PYPE is Research Assistant of the Africa Research Centre at the Department of Social and Cultural Anthropology at the Catholic University of Leuven. Her research interests include local visual media, popular culture, religion, youth and gender. She is currently preparing a doctoral thesis on the production of local television serials (inspired by Pentecostalism) in Kinshasa.



    COPYRIGHT 2007 Edinburgh University Press
  2. variance is offline

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    Posted On:
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    no mention of Comba Tai?
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    Posted On:
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    whew....my eyes are blurry.
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    Posted On:
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    I stopped right about here

    In contrast to judo, tae kwondo and other martial arts, where the fight may only take place in the dojo, mukumbusu boys have to prove their physical strength on the street. If one fails to reply in an effective manner to provocations, or if one avoids a fight on the street, one will be punished in one's own ecurie (group of youngsters, based upon territoriality).

    This is why I abandoned my academia path.

    This text was presented at the conference on 'The Congo and the Nordic Countries: encounters and images in the shadow of colonialism' (Museum of Ethnography, Stockholm, 2005). Many thanks go to the organizer, Michael Barrett, and the other participants.
    The more I read the more this annoyed me. Alot of the text can be applied to any culture. Whenever an outsider attempts to reconstruct another culture it is always within the framework of not only their own cultural ocnditioning, but with the framework of voyeur. As a voyuer there is often a sense of 'otherness' and exoticism placed on very mundane features of the viewed culture.
    Last edited by cyrijl; 10/15/2007 8:37am at .
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyrijl
    I stopped right about here
    You have more patiente that I do. I stopped right here (text in red added by me):.

    Publication: Africa <<< WTF?

    Publication Date: 03/22/2007

    Author: Pype, Katrien

    ABSTRACT
    What the hell is "Publication" supposed to mean? Since when a continent name is a valid location for a place of publication? There are 46 countries in Africa, each with several dozen universtities at least, and who knows how many publications, from the pedestrian monthly mags, to the academic.
    Read this for flexibility and injury prevention, this, this and this for supplementation, this on grip conditioning, and this on staph. New: On strenght standards, relationships and structural balance. Shoulder problems? Read this.

    My crapuous vlog and my blog of training, stuff and crap. NEW: Me, Mrs. Macho and our newborn baby.

    New To Weight Training? Get the StrongLifts 5x5 program and Rippetoe's "Starting Strength, 2nd Ed". Wanna build muscle/gain weight? Check this article. My review on Tactical Nutrition here.

    t-nation - Dissecting the deadlift. Anatomy and Muscle Balancing Videos.

    The street argument is retarded. BJJ is so much overkill for the street that its ridiculous. Unless you're the idiot that picks a fight with the high school wrestling team, barring knife or gun play, the opponent shouldn't make it past double leg + ground and pound - Osiris
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    Posted On:
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    I just assumed it was some journal I didn't know about.
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyrijl
    The more I read the more this annoyed me. Alot of the text can be applied to any culture. Whenever an outsider attempts to reconstruct another culture it is always within the framework of not only their own cultural ocnditioning, but with the framework of voyeur. As a voyuer there is often a sense of 'otherness' and exoticism placed on very mundane features of the viewed culture.
    I think that issue is well understood by cultural anthropologists, but what are the options? IMO this sort of phenomenon is worth investigating and recording for its own sake, and if that's not going to happen from within the culture in question, then its up to trained observers from the outside.
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    Posted On:
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    Quote Originally Posted by Teh El Macho

    What the hell is "Publication" supposed to mean? Since when a continent name is a valid location for a place of publication? There are 46 countries in Africa, each with several dozen universtities at least, and who knows how many publications, from the pedestrian monthly mags, to the academic.
    The University of Edinburgh's Centre of African Studies has a publication called "Africa" and this report appeared in that publication.
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    Posted On:
    10/15/2007 2:35pm

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    Ahhhhhhh, well that explains it a lot more better.
    Read this for flexibility and injury prevention, this, this and this for supplementation, this on grip conditioning, and this on staph. New: On strenght standards, relationships and structural balance. Shoulder problems? Read this.

    My crapuous vlog and my blog of training, stuff and crap. NEW: Me, Mrs. Macho and our newborn baby.

    New To Weight Training? Get the StrongLifts 5x5 program and Rippetoe's "Starting Strength, 2nd Ed". Wanna build muscle/gain weight? Check this article. My review on Tactical Nutrition here.

    t-nation - Dissecting the deadlift. Anatomy and Muscle Balancing Videos.

    The street argument is retarded. BJJ is so much overkill for the street that its ridiculous. Unless you're the idiot that picks a fight with the high school wrestling team, barring knife or gun play, the opponent shouldn't make it past double leg + ground and pound - Osiris
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    Posted On:
    10/16/2007 2:35am

    Join us... or die
     

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    The article is alas.... merely descriptive in nature and does not explain, nor hypothesize about the youth described. You might as well have a guy describe the event from the stands... Yeah all well and good, adolescent males with Testosterone to burn causing disturbances. And where does that not happen?

    When Durkheime dicussed the Australian Aborigine culture he described the mechanism by which it functioned and its development. This guy just throws out colionalism and tradition like they are some new social force in Africa. What can't be explained by the opposing energy of these two forces? And what is different about this phenomena?

    All I know is I like the sophisticants better.... Making Gorilla sounds and flexing muscle will after all only get you so far in life... int eh Congo and elsewhere.
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