Nzango – The Game of Dance!

Nzango – The Game of Dance!

Nzango or Dzango meaning ‘foot dance’ in the Lingala language, is a unique traditional style of sport that originates from the north of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DR Congo) pre-1960 independence. Originally Nzango was a dance most popular amongst young females, traditionally played on the streets, and on school playgrounds. However recent years have noticed a huge surge in popularity for the game; with it now being extremely popular amongst females of all ages, and its official certification as a national Congolese sport. Promoters of the game are now even pushing for Nzango, to be recognised as an official Olympic sport!

Nzango was a traditional style of play most popular in the school playgrounds. Source, Published 25 Sep 2015

Style of Play

  • Nzango teams are usually composed of 11 players and six reserves. Nzango involves two player teams, lined up and facing each other on a pitch.
  • Individual team members then take it in turns to ‘battle’ with their individual opponent opposite; all whilst guided by a referee.
  • At the beginning of the game, the teams choose a foot by which to attack, with one team side taking the right foot, and the other team side the left foot.
  • Then the first two players step forward. The goal of the player from the attack team is to move forward on their chosen attack foot, at the same time as their opponent does.
  • These movements are traditionally preceded by big jumps –as the game states that you can’t lose a point with both feet in the air.
  • The players win points, or “feet”, by the dint of the position of their feet, compared to that of their opponent.
  • The winning team is the one that wins the most “feet” over two halves of 25 minutes each.

* YouTube Video Link – Example of Nzango being played in Kimpese, DR Congo

Nzango now holds a multitude of tournaments with seventy teams in the last three years being formed in the eastern DR Congo alone! The game is also spreading reaching popularity in African countries such as Gabon and Cameroon, with the sport demonstrated at the 2015 All Africa Games, in Brazzaville, Republic of the Congo.


Congolese athletes competing in Nzango. Source, Published 7th Sep 2015.

Nzango is also increasingly seen as an important unifying socio-political tool that unites both the DR Congo and its neighbouring country the Republic of the Congo, from bi-communal disputes. The fact is that Nzango is now here to stay, and as a Congolese female, I feel extremely proud that this game is unique to the DR Congo.

Support the movement!

Nzango oye!


Emirates247. Published 29 September 2015.

LeCongolais. Published 25 September 2015.

YouTube Video Link. TheBeachPreacher. Published 10 February 2014.

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