"BILLS" Gangs of Zaire

Discuss Africa and the Down under region with its Pacific Islander influence.
Silencioso
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"BILLS" Gangs of Zaire

Unread postby Silencioso » June 16th, 2008, 2:58 pm

BILLS
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From 1957 to 1959, half a dozen movie theatres opened in the "African" neighbourhoods in Léopoldville (the city was segregated into African and European areas). The majority of Léopoldville's population was under 20, and most of these youths were educated to only Primary level, since the colonial government reserved most of the Secondary school places for Europeans. Poor education resulted in large scale unemployment, and, with little else to do, the youths began to make the theatres their meeting points. They were particularly drawn to Western movies, and "Billism" began to incorporate many of the motifs into their lives. The portrayal of Buffalo Bill in the movies was especially appealing partly because of the similarity to hunter heroes of Congolese culture. The character of Buffalo Bill had already appeared in over 20 films by that time, but the most influential movie is thought to be 'Pony Express', where Charlton Heston played Bill.


The Bills dressed in cowboy outfits (kerchiefs, jeans and shirts) sold in Kinshasa. The names of the 'territories' for each gang echoed those of the Western United States (Texas, Sante Fe), and the gangs themselves were usually named after their territories (such as the "Texas Bills"), but occasionally strayed outside the Western United States pantheon (such as "Godzilla"). Some commentators have suggested they provided a street-level counterpart to the more refined and overtly political anti-colonial struggle that was then being fought by some of the évolués (the middle class educated elite).


The Bills developed their own argot called Hindoubill (or Hindubill). The origins of this name are obscure, but may relate to either the Hindi films occasionally shown in Kinshasa, or to the Bills conflating the Native American "Indians" of "Cowboys and Indians" with the Indians of India (a la Columbus' mistake).

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Re: "BILLS" Gangs of Zaire

Unread postby Silencioso » May 26th, 2010, 1:28 pm

leoville cowboy-depara.jpg
leoville cowboy-depara.jpg (19.74 KiB) Viewed 3422 times


depara-bills.jpg
depara-bills.jpg (20.22 KiB) Viewed 3422 times

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Re: "BILLS" Gangs of Zaire

Unread postby alexalonso » August 13th, 2010, 5:03 am

they look like cowboys from the US Southwest

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Re: "BILLS" Gangs of Zaire

Unread postby Cold Bear » August 17th, 2010, 8:44 am

There were plenty of Black cowboys in the Wild West

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Re: "BILLS" Gangs of Zaire

Unread postby buLLetxx2 » August 18th, 2010, 9:41 pm

Cold Bear wrote:There were plenty of Black cowboys in the Wild West


Yep, real "red ragger" cowboys had plenty of blacks and a few asians that broke away from the railroad chain in those days.

Those pics are crazy though, being american it looks like someone took a trip to Knotts Berry farm and had their pics taken, but knowing thats a gang in africa makes it all the more nuttier.

THanks for the OP and article, interesting read.


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