Sunday evenings in Kinshasa

Everything is quiet

The streets are empty

The taxis have gone

Sellers went home

One or two cars zoom past

A few beggars roam the streets

Some homeless people sleep on sidewalks or in front of nice offices

A few are selling mobile units

Others hang around near bars hoping to get a dollar or two

Security guards are falling asleep on their chairs with swarms of mosquitoes dancing over their heads

The night is young

Some affluent people drive their fancy cars to the bars and nightclubs of the city

Outdoor terrasses are somewhat crowded with men and women sipping warm beers barely speaking to each other over screeching and loud distorted music playing from miserably old and damaged speakers

Hookers whistle at every passing car

Pot holes covered with yesterday’s rain wait for unsuspecting drivers to ruin their suspension

A power cut shuts down an entire section of the city

Water cuts ruin someone’s shower

Eventually everyone goes to bed

At 3 or 4 am young athletes start to run along the arteries of the city

They run at this time because it’s quiet

Cleaners also sweep the dust only to see it return the next day

What a city

Never asleep

Never awake

Both half-asleep and overactive men and women scrabbling left and right to make ends meet

Kinshasa slowly but surely prepares itself for another day of frantic busy-ness

Khalid Emilio Noorani, Kinshasa, Sunday April 30th 2023





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