A fashion show in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo hopes to inspire peace and creativity in a conflict-ridden region.
-A longing for peace-
Sewing the threads of hope. In her Goma workshop, stylist Flore Mfuanani Nsukula is putting the final touches to her latest collection.
"We want peace to be restored in our country, especially in North Kivu," she says.
"Through art, all colors that we will express, through our clothes, it will be full of emotions, trying to explain what we are going through in our country."
A conflict in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has gone on for decades, with more than 100 armed groups fighting for control of valuable mineral resources while others protect their communities, and has triggered an exodus of refugees.
The Liputa fashion show took place on Saturday (24 June) evening, its 9th edition.
Organizers said it's an opportunity to deliver a message of peace and peaceful coexistence during a period of heightened tensions.
The DRC accuses Rwanda of supporting the M23 rebellion in the east of country.
"Africans must be one, be united. It is true that we have a very wide cultural diversity, but this diversity must bring us together," says Cameroonian fashion designer Délia Ndougou, who presented a collection inspired by her own nation's flag.
"We really wanted to convey joy in the clothes, peace in the clothes, very cheerful styles, a question of making the world smile," adds Chadrac Lumumba, a creative stylist from Kinshasa.
The Goma show featured designers, models and artists from Cameroon, Senegal, Burundi, France, the U.S., and more.
"We think we have sent a message to say that all these people who have come elsewhere, that means that the situation is already improving," says Flore, after debuting her new collection on the runway.
"We had those who came from the Central African Republic (CAR), Cameroon, USA, France, to come and present their collections, that means that there is hope, security, with time, it will improve."
In addition to highlighting DRC's fashion industry, the show also aims to promote culture in all its diversity, and to promote the importance of women in industry and life in general.
"We presented these collections, not only to sell the images of these creators, but to show that in Africa, in the DRC, the areas that are considered 'red,' we can do things there that we see in other countries that have peace," says organizer David Ngulu.
"I think that each creator contributed to love, peace and living together."