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Cultural Diversity

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In Congo, which has lost an estimated 4 million people in the civil wars of the last decade and where many must get by on about 30 cents a day, "gangs" of designer-clothes-wearing men periodically square off against each other in preening contests in the streets of Kinshasa to prove that Versace and Gucci look better on them than on others. Papy Mosengo, 30 (interviewed for a November 2006 Los Angeles Times report), still lives with his parents, sleeps in a dingy, closet-sized room, and leaves child-care expenses to his ex-girlfriend, but he owns 30 top-of-the-line outfits and spends $400 monthly on clothes. Said he, "This is just what I am." (The "cloth cults" of Congo are said to have been around since the 1970s.)

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