Colin Delfosse “White Elephants: Mobutu’s Legacy in DRC”
For 31 years, Joseph Désiré Mobutu reigned as a megalomaniac despot on his country. Known as Mobutu Sese Seko, he had his hands free to shape a country in his own image, endowing it with a new currency, a new flag, a new anthem and a new name: Zaire. Thanks to millions of dollars from the mining industry, and from Western banks, the Maréchal expanded utopian projects. Among them: Inga’s hydropower plant. The hope of everlasting benefits for the state dwindled. The dollars loaned by the international institutions for Inga’s construction indebted Congo heavily. Considered as the first of the Zairian “white elephants”, Inga would be the trigger of a financial débauche established between Mobutu and Westerners. Many other projects of that type came to light across the country. The “white elephants” are indicative of an era and the state of mind of the man with the leopard hat, the dictator who turned Louis XIV motto into his own: “after me, chaos”.
Colin Delfosse born in 1981 and grew up in Brussels, Belgium where he is currently based. Graduated in journalism, he turned to documentary photography in 2007, and became one of the founding members of the Out of Focus collective. As a freelance photographer, Delfosse initiated his first reportages in Mali and Democratic Republic of Congo, focusing on the mining issues.
He covered several countries including China, Iraki Kurdistan, Rwanda, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan, where he did a long-term project about soviet legacy in central Asia.
His reportages have been shown in different festivals in Europe (screening in Arles photos festival and Visa pour l’image, exhibitions in Paris Photo, Circulation(s) and photo festival of Hanover). Colin Delfosse won several awards (POYi Award of Excellence, Nikon press awards, PDN photo annual awards, Sony World Photography Awards,) and has published in many newspapers and magazines such as The New York Times, Le Monde, etc.