The Kinshasa cowboys: How Buffalo Bill started a subculture in Congo

Updated 7:31 AM ET, Tue December 8, 2015

Chat with us in Facebook Messenger. Find out what's happening in the world as it unfolds.

(CNN)It was hard being a youth in Kinshasa in the 1950s. Known as Leopoldville at the time, the capital of Congo was under the control of Belgian colonialists. Segregation meant there were no-go zones after nightfall and unemployment levels were high. Most residents had no education beyond primary level.

The city was feeling the strain from an influx of rural migrants, largely young men, who flocked to the capital's poor neighborhoods. Away from their parents it was a hyper-masculine environment, and yet they found themselves infantilized by the colonial class.
Refusing to be cowed, these young men (and in some cases women) were looking for a role model.
They found one in Buffalo Bill.

A very different type of cowboy