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Despite their suffering, part and parcel of life in a war-weary nation, Congolese women revel a little in their hairstyles.
EASTERN CONGO — The Democratic Republic of Congo is notorious for its war, brutality and misery. Less known is the beauty and humanity that still shines in spite of the suffering.
A recent assignment to the country's northeastern region revealed not only a terrified population fleeing attacks by rebels who have massacred more than 900 villagers in the past three months, but also countless displaced women and girls with striking hairstyles.
Despite the fear and the daily struggle to survive, these women maintained their dignity and their looks using creative and inventive hairstyles.
The spiky hairdos originated in Congolese villages decades or even centuries ago. While they have spread to a few neighboring central African countries, Congo remains home to the most varied selection of hairstyles adorning the crowns of women, from infants to the elderly.
These photos show a few examples of the distinctive Congolese hairstyles. Everywhere, in hospital, kitchens, and on dusty streets women wear their hairstyles with pride and humor — a hint of glamour in the shadow of war.
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