Considered for ages as second-hand clothes intended to the poor, rags trading is now experiencing a striking revival in Kinshasa. It may be observed through the appetite that concerns not only clothes but also shoes, household linen, fashion accessories and so on. This change seems to be related to the lasting economic crisis and the following impoverishment of Congolese citizens. Then, the evolution of the economic situation has turned this imported and despised reject into a highly valued resource that allows citizens to stay stylish in spite of the crisis. With time, second-hand clothes sale has become a prosperous business expanding its recycling retail networks. At the Kinshasa great market, deals are quite similar to those observed elsewhere: ragbags are unwrapped at dawn and commercial deals are done through three main phases i.e. unwrapping, displaying and selling into the trader’s personal network. More interesting, the commercial recycling process of second-hand clothes in Kinshasa includes rags selection, classification and reassessment that involves the making and adding of a locally relevant symbolic value.
Ayimpam, S. (2016). La valorisation du rebut. Techniques & Culture, (65–66), 264–279. https://doi.org/10.4000/tc.8034
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