Award of Excellence|
Considered as a real society phenomenon in Kinshasa and the whole DRC, Congolese wrestling stands aside the conventional approach. Inspired by American wrestling, broadcasted all day long on national TV, the Congolese wrestling takes distances from its original entertainment made in USA. If some wrestlers reproduce the attitudes and techniques coming from across the Atlantic, the Congolese wrestling is more about manipulation of fetiches than a show of force. Practitioners of both schools fight rarely against each other. The wrestlers using fetishes – the fetishers- draw their strength from black magic and fight their opponents with ‘gris-gris’, spells and magic dances. They are more than a hundred through the country, but the majority of them are in Kinshasa. Fighting in the rings is a common thing between the fetishers and the so-called technicians. These sportsmen look like their city and its vivid neighbourhoods. Their names are taken from emblematic characters, places or situations: City Train, Alleluyia, Chinois (Chinese), Etats-Unis (United States)… If wrestling is seldom their main activity, their character on the ring is nevertheless usually famous. In a country where people are used to manage their lives through rough times, wrestling is also an alternative to the street and allows –sometimes- to find a job. Its practice, and the believes directly linked to it forge respect or fear: two strong assets in a packed and poor city such as Kinshasa.
Warrior Masseke (antelope, in Lingala), fetish wrestler in his courtyard.