Text by Steven Dahlberg
Photography Aicha Abdoun
Talking to Gunifort, you can get a sense that he did not have it easy when he was a kid. At a young age he became a refugee, escaping the genocide in Rwanda with his parents – it is a period of his life he doesn’t like to talk about. The journey through Rwanda, Congo, Kenya made a considerable impact on him when the family made it in the Netherlands in 1998.
Now Gunifort tries to take matters in his own hands. Currently, he’s the co-owner of design book store MENDO, which is located in the centre of Amsterdam. MENDO is more than just a book store. MENDO is known for its unique selection of beautiful and rare photography books and is increasingly making a name as an international independent Publisher. While working at MENDO as a part-time store employee during the weekends, he finished two university studies and finally found a job at a large bank. However, he kept his part-time job at the store and continued working at MENDO in the weekends, it’s his unstoppable love for books.
The first time he walked in the store he was sold, “I had not yet seen a book store where all books in the store are organized in the ‘MENDO’ way, they all were selected with attention and care.” It seems to me that it was love at first sight. Off course, he realized that working both jobs was not sustainable. “I made a plan of action and presented it to the owners.” Because he knew the company very well and also saw the new possibilities and opportunities they shared in his passion with excitement, which resulted in Gunifort getting the opportunity to prove myself as a partner. “It was my chance to take agency over my life. For which I am eternally grateful.”
Special thanks to Studio AHM