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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Autobiography of a prophet
Author:MacGaffey, WyattISNI
Periodical:Cahiers économiques et sociaux
Geographic term:Congo (Democratic Republic of)
Subject:African Independent Churches
Abstract:In 1921, Simon Kimbangu emerged as a prophet in the Lower Congo, that land of prophets, and within a few days popular enthusiasm, expressed in mass pelgrimages, threatened to upset the social and economic life of the region. Very soon many villages had their own prophets, until the colonial government reacted against the movement, transporting the prophets to the Upper Congo. One of them was Mabwaaka Mpaka Gabriel, also known as Msadisi, the Helper, but more generally in the surrounding region as Ngunza, the Prophet. He lived at Kemba, a village in the Lower Congo, isolated enough, although in 1959 and until after independence in I960 truckloads of singing, pilgrims came every day from Matadi and further afield, over rutted dirt roads. When the biographer knew him his great day was over; almost all there was left to record was his own account of his life, which he dictated in Kikongo. He must have been 65 or 70, an old man leaning on the brass-tipped staff which is one of the insignia of prophecy. Mabwaaka's story is of interest for some details concerning Kimbangu. In 1958 Mabwaaka came back to Kemba, Outside the villag he built his mission-station Kinzolani. He was interested chiefly in talking about his miraculous visitations and national independence. The biographer has in quotation marks literally translated what Mabwaaka said. After his dead Mabwaaka appeared in dreams of others at Kinzolani.