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The University of Zambia Issues Apology to Female Students For Issuing 'Half-Naked' Dress Code Warning

The school has rescinded the highly-contested policy, stating that it "will not tolerate old discredited misogynist views in our space."

UPDATE 5/8: The University of Zambia has issued an apology to its female students, stating that it would not tolerate sexist attitudes towards women. BBC Africa, shared some quotes from Christine Kanyengo, the university's librarian on Tuesday:

"The said poster does not reflect who we are; we are a space that promotes access to all our library materials to people from all walks of life. We urge all our female University of Zambia Library users to feel comfortable when using their library."
"The University of Zambia has no dress code. Tolerance and diversity is the bedrock of our institution; the University of Zambia Libraries will not tolerate old discredited misogynist views in our space."

Dikina Muzeya, a student at the university and one of the most outspoken critics of the rules, told BBC Africa that she's welcomed the apology, but urges the instution to be more sensitive towards matters of gender equality moving forward:

"In the future, they should really mind not being sexually bias. Both genders need to be treated equally. The library management should be more conscious about notices that are published, especially notices involving restrictions such as dress code on a particular sex."

Continue for yesterday's story:

A university in Zambia has come under fire, for releasing a notice telling female students not to dress "half-naked" in order to not distract their male colleagues.

A picture of a notice that was placed in the school's library has been widely shared on social media. "It has come to our attention that some female students dress half-naked as they use the library, a situation which is disturbing the male students," reads the notice.

"We therefore advise the female students to dress modestly as you use university facilities. Modesty is the way to go!"


Many female students have contested the message. One student Dikina Muzeya told BBC Africa, that the male students should take responsibility for their own actions and focus on their work, rather than women's bodies.

"If your mission of going to the library is to study, why should you start looking at other things like a female's legs," said Muzeya. "Just concentrate on your books, that's all."

Many online agree with her sentiments. Why should women's bodies be policed to "protect" men. The issue has sparked a conversation between Zambian men and women online around sexual assault and victim-blaming.




Photo courtesy of Vinyl Me, Please.

The Story of Zamrock: Zambia's 1970s Fuzz Rock Sound

Get to know the musical and political history behind Zambia's much-talked about 1970s fuzz rock scene and genre.

Zamrock was born in 1970s Zambia out of influences from James Brown's funk and Jimi Hendrix's acid guitar.

In recent years, the fuzzed-out and psychedelic Zamrock sound has been turning heads with vinyl reissues from some of its pioneering bands, the latest of which comes in the repressing of the Vinyl Me, Please anthology The Story of Zamrock, originally released in 2020.

Put together in conjunction with with Now Again Records and Strawberry Rain Music, VMP's Zamrock anthology will consists of eight albums from seminal Zamrock groups Witch, Amanaz, 5 Revolutions, Ricky Banda, Ngozi Family, Oscillations, Fireballs, and Crossbones.

VMP initially shared the anthology with an accompanying mini-documentary The Story of Zamrock! The Zambian Rock Sound 1972-1978, which takes a look at the genesis of the sound, the people behind it, and the sociopolitical events that shaped it. It features rare interviews with members of Amanaz, Oscillations and Crossbones.

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Photo by Guillermo Gutierrez/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

Dozens of African Migrants Killed At Morocco/Spain Border

Thousands of Spaniards have taken to the streets to protest the brutal treatment of those attempting to cross into North African city Melilla this week.

At least 37 African migrants were beaten to death by Spanish authorities for attempting to cross into Morrocco/Spain bordering city Melilla this week. Around 2,000 migrants camped out in the Moroccan mountains and ultimately made their descent on the city's border last week Friday. They were met with unnecessary brutality, as the Moroccan border guards threw tear gas, and crushed and beat those who made it across. Both the African Union and United Nations have condemned the violence, as supporters within Spain protest for those lost.

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Photo Credit: Victoire Douniama

This Photographer is Capturing the Femininity of Congo’s La Sape Movement

Once a male-centric domain, women in Congo are disturbing the gender boundaries of La Sape, and photojournalist Victoire Douniama wants them recognized.

Even though the African fashion industry is finally getting the recognition it deserves, many under-the-surface subcultures that foster community and creativity expression still exist. One of those subcultures thrive in the Republic of Congo, where Congolese dandy culture, called La Sape (La Societe des Ambianceurs et Personnes Elegantes), finds provenance.

Its history dates back to the early 1920s and 1930s during the period of the French colonial era. Notably, it was a form of protest against French colonialism. La Sape or Sapologie is a movement of unique complexity. It is more than just a catwalk of sapeurs who dress ostentatiously in colorful suits but represents the socioeconomic and political knot that ties the population.

Messani Grace in blue tux

Messani Grace, in a tuxedo. She says: "My husband is a sapeur as well and he is part of the main reason I feel confident to do this because he supports me alot and teaches me all I need to know about fashion."

Photo Credit: Victoire Douniama

Since its inception, La Sape has had a masculine presence. Although women showed interest in La Sape, it was strictly reserved for men. Congolese women were expected to wear African print dresses and be housekeepers. Despite the challenges and backlash, a group of Congolese women kept challenging the status quo, fighting for their style of expression. Today, hundreds of women have joined the movement, dressing in suits, tuxedos, and bow ties.

Victoire Douniama wearing white

As a photojournalist, Victoire Douniama centers her project on female sapeurs because there was a gap in representation by other photographers.

Photo Credit: Victoire Douniama

Documenting these women is Congolese photojournalist Victoire Douniama. Raised in Johannesburg, South Africa, Douniama has always been inclined towards art from a young age. She was inspired by her older sister’s sketchbook. “I was so fascinated by her art and her drawing talent," Douniama told OkayAfrica. "So visual arts has always been a passion of mine." Douniama's gift for drawing was evident by fifth grade and ,during her adolescent years, she developed a passion for photography.

As she settled back in the Republic of Congo, she was struck by the lack of representation of the nation in the media which mostly depicted negative aspects of the country. For Douniama, centering her craft in her native country is important, as it not only represents her roots but also it's an opportunity to use her passion to showcase the rich natural resources and cultures of the Congo. The neighboring country, Democratic Republic of the Congo, has also been a stage for Douniama to practice her work alongside various NGOs.

\u200bTsiba Mary Jane wears blue suit

Tsiba Mary Jane works as a thrift cloth vendor at the market of Mikalou in Brazzaville. He says: “I use my hair as a form of identity, as you can tell my hair is colored green, yellow, and red. Which represents the Congolese flag."

Photo Credit: Victoire Douniama

Her tenacity is certainly unmatched as she navigates her craft in a country faced with various economic challenges, especially since the pandemic. Being an independent photographer under such hurdles can be discouraging for some, but her portfolio speaks for itself. When asked about her secret to success, she said: “You have to develop your own style and clients will hire if it corresponds to their brand."

Of the various projects under Douniama's belt is her photo journal, Les Saupeuse du Congo. For Douniama, La Sape is more than just a fashion statement. She recognizes the political elements of the visuals. The emergence of female sapeurs is revolutionary and, without a doubt, impressive.

“It originated as a political protest during the colonial era and a movement that called for change in Congo Brazzaville and the DRC," Douniama said. “It challenges the conservative role of women in Congo and it normalizes freedom of expression, which is vital for Congolese people to become more open-minded."

Kourissa and her son Okili Dojido

A portrait of Kourissa and her son Okili Dojido at a funeral outside a home at “La tchiemé.”

Photo Credit: Victoire Douniama

As a photojournalist, Douniama centers her project on female sapeurs because there was a gap in representation by other photographers. “I wanted to give the ladies a space to share their experiences and what exactly inspired them to join this movement, and how people within their societal circle responded to this," she said. "Because at some point, this conservative movement was only reserved for men."

This photo project has given her a look into the dynamic of La Saupeuse and their self-fashioning practices. The exuberant sapeuse is in her mid '30s to early '50s. She’s a wife, mother, and can be found in various walks of life as a market vendor, police officer, thrift clothes vendor, or government official. She carves her hair into an undercut or taper fade, with touches of different dye, borrowing masculine-considered accouterments and accessories like smoking pipes, hats, and umbrellas.

In colorful suave suits, these women are overturning gender norms, which require them to dress in traditional “lady-like” attire known as Liputta — a bold move for a conservative country as Congo. For this reason, regardless of how liberal much of society has become, some women are scorned, discriminated against, or even receive backlash.

So, can Les Saupeuse translate into a social upgrade for the lives of Congolese women? As the world continues to interrogate patriarchal standards, it’s a movement that is still forging its identity within the culture. “Many people did not think women can do all of this," Douniama said. "That is why they mostly wanted women to be reserved and submissive."

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