Congo-Society

Brazzaville and the crazed atmosphere of fairs

APA-Brazzaville (Congo) By Léon Charles Moukouri

As the school holidays begin, Brazzaville, the Congolese capital, is vibrating to the rhythm of promotional operations, organised by breweries and mobile phone companies.

Individuals wishing to launch their products are also latching onto such fairs known locally as “kermesses” thanks to their propensity to climax into celebrations where revellers drink and dance without restraint until the early morning hours.

 

Usually held in public places, the kermesses start timidly during the day before becoming lively from 6pm, when an audience, mostly aged between 15 and 25, flock to the scene. 

With thunderous music blasting away, teenage revellers drink, eat and dance until dawn, under the watchful eye of drink and brochette sellers.

 

According to the manager of a brewery, every day beer sales can reach, between 6pm and 5am, “no less than 60 crates of beer all brands combined.”

 

The trick used by Alfred Ngatsé, manager of a brewery, is to attract maximum sales in these well-watered evenings. 

“A customer who buys two bottles of beer is rewarded with a third one. This causes clients to flock and sometimes we are overwhelmed,” he said.

 

Looking at his young clientele, he explained that young people form groups of two or four to contribute until they have “at least CFA5000,” a sum necessary to fill a table with beer bottles. 

A cursory look inside a fair would reveal dozens of beer bottles and grilled dishes sitting on several tables around which perky teenagers sit.

 

With the help of drunkenness, and as the night progresses, the good-natured atmosphere increasingly gives way to actions and behaviours testing the limit of the permit. 

Then lively discussions and violent fights broke out, at the end of which some protagonists harass girls without restraint or empty their bladders on the spot.

 

Faced with the silence of the municipal authorities, despite several complaints, the local populations are constantly raising their voices to denounce the noise pollution issuing from the “kermesse” and the dirt left behind by rowdy revellers.

 

“We can no longer spend peaceful nights as we used to, not only is there the sound of music, but there is also the smell of urine and faeces...all this despite the presence of the police,” said Garcia Ngoma, a resident of Nkombo, one of the favourite reveling points for the organizers.

 


LCM/cat/lb/as/APA

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