Hip-Hop Nakupenda

A solo by Yves Mwamba
Production 2021 – Duration: 50 min
All audiences and young audiences from 10 years old

Dancer and choreographer, Yves Mwamba, tells us his story in a mixture of words and dance. It’s a story intricately bound up with that of hip-hop dance in Africa and of his native country, the Democratic Republic of Congo. Why dance? In Africa, there’s no need to even ask. Whenever there’s a new video clip on TV, everyone learns the dance steps. Congolese rumba songs are all devoted to the country’s political leaders, and have had the entire African continent up on its feet since the Mobutu era.

In the aftermath of the war in Kisangani in 2000, the 12-year-old Yves Mwamba started hip-hop dancing with his friends. The idea was to rebuild an identity, taking his cue from the stars of Afro-American hip-hop. He formed the first hip-hop dance group in Kisangani, then created an association that held battles throughout the city. Through dance, song, music and voice, he tells us the story of a whole generation of young street dancers, called the “Mudjansa”. He dances his own brand of hip-hop, learnt directly from the street, and introduces us to the development of urban dance in Congo, which is inspired by ancestral dance traditions and gang dances.

With a combination of humour and light-heartedness, Yves Mwamba whips up a singing and dancing vibe, transporting us straight into a fairy-tale world of ancients and demons. From the United States to Kisangani and then to Paris, he invites us on a journey into the heart of hip-hop with “Hip-Hop Nakupenda”: Swahili for “Hip-hop, I love you”. This show contains text in French. Please contact us if you’re interested in producing an English version, or subtitled version, of the performance.


“I became acquainted with the Democratic Republic of Congo while working as a performer with choreographer Faustin Linyekula in 2003 on his show Telle une ombre gravée dans la poussière. In 2004, then again in 2008, Faustin invited me to Kinshasa to train some young urban dancers and present my work. I’ve been able to follow the work of those dancers, notably during my stay in Kinshasa as the president of the jury for “Choreographic dance” at IXes Jeux de la Francophonie in 2023. At Studios Kabako, which Faustin set up afterwards in Kisangani, Faustin brought up many young talents, including choreographer Yves Mwamba, who invited me to give my artistic advice of his first piece, entitled Voix Intérieures – Manifeste in 2020, and with whom I worked to create the biographical solo show Hip-Hop Nakupenda in 2021.

I am a patron of association Fondament’ALL, directed by Didier Boko, which is engaged in the education of children and adolescents and their fulfillment, as well as family support, and artistic and cultural development in working-class neighborhoods in Champigny-sur-Marne. I am also a patron of association Irilojù in the village of Camaté in Benin, which works on several educational, artistic and cultural projects designed to increase local autonomy, such as project “Les Enfants des Collines”, of which four children and adolescents will take part in the 2024 co-creation Behind the Line produced by Le Carreau du Temple, where they will perform alongside four dancers from the par Terre Dance Company.

Those different experiences have led me to develop a reflection on the Western collective imagination, its relationships with traditional cultures and the way in which artists depend upon those conceptions, both in the West and in Africa. With my 2023 production Matière(s) première(s), then with [Superstrat[, which will be created in 2025, I propose to question this collective imagination, to make explicit the contexts in which different cultures evolve, and to make African urban and traditional cultures visible to large audiences, in a manner that is respectful of the identity and integrity of the artists.” (Anne Nguyen)

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Written by: Anne Nguyen & Yves Mwamba
Performer: Yves Mwamba
Direction and choreography: Anne Nguyen
Artistic advisers: Yann Richard, Fabrice Labrana


Production: par Terre / Anne Nguyen Dance Company
Coproduction: L’Auditorium Seynod

With the support of: Mairie de La Courneuve – Houdremont centre culturel; CND Centre national de la danse – mise à disposition de studio; Théâtre de Chevilly-Larue The par Terre Dance Company is funded by l’Aide pluriannuelle du Ministère de la Culture / DRAC Île-de-France, la Région Île-de-France for “Permanence Artistique et Culturelle” and l’Aide au fonctionnement du Département du Val-de-Marne.
In 2023/2024, the par Terre / Anne Nguyen Dance Company is an associate artist to Théâtre Molière -> Sète scène nationale archipel de Thau (34), La Manufacture CDCN Nouvelle-Aquitaine Bordeaux • La Rochelle, with the support of ministère de la Culture, Théâtre de Choisy-le-Roi, Scène conventionnée d’intérêt national – Art et création pour la diversité linguistique (94), and is taking part in an artist-in-residence program in Ivry-sur-Seine, in partnership with la briqueterie – CDCN (94). Anne Nguyen is invited to an artistic and cultural co-construction at La Maison des Métallos in January 2024.