Duress and Messianism in French Moyen-Congo

in Conflict and Society
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  • 1 Leiden University m.j.de.goede@hum.leidenuniv.nl
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Abstract

The Matsouanist religion in Congo-Brazzaville has its roots in Amicale, a sociopolitical association and movement that aimed to improve the rights of colonial subjects that emerged in the late 1920s. After its leader, André Matsoua, died in prison, the movement transformed into a religion that worships Matsoua as a prophet. In this article, I argue that this transformation should be understood not as a rupture but as continuation, albeit in a different discursive domain. This transformation was steered by duress, or the internalization of structural violence in everyday life under colonialism. Through this discursive transformation, Matsoua’s followers appropriated the movement and brought it into a culturally known place that enabled them to continue their struggle for liberation from colonial oppression.

Contributor Notes

MEIKE J. DE GOEDE is Assistant Professor in African History and Anthropology at the Leiden University Institute for History, working on twentieth-century history of Congo-Kinshasa and Congo-Brazzaville. Her current research explores history of the Matsouanists in Congo-Brazzaville. Email: m.j.de.goede@hum.leidenuniv.nl

Conflict and Society

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