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DR Congo: Kimbanguists celebrate holiday in memory of church movement

Kimbanguist followers Goma   -  
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Democratic Republic Of Congo

Followers of the Kimbanguist church in Goma took to the streets on Thursday, playing music and singing to celebrate Kimbangu's day after the Congolese president declared it an official holiday in memory and recognition of the fight of Simon Kimbangu.

Born at the end of the 19 century, while Congo was still a Belgium colony, the Baptist mission catechist was credited a miracle of healing the sick and teaching the bible.

In April 1921 he inaugurated a movement that later led to the birth of his church.

His preaching included a message of emancipation that brought him to the attention of the ruling Belgium authorities.

They arrested him and condemned him to death.

His sentence was later changed but he spent the rest of his life in prison.

Years later, Kimbanguists led by one of Kimbangu’s sons, Joseph Diangienda (Diangienda ku Ntima), founded the Kimbanguist church, which received official recognition in September 1959.

Kimbanguist is considered one of the largest African-initiated churches with followers not just in Congo but in other African countries.

Congolese authorities have now declared Kimbangu's Day on April 6 an official holiday.

"I know that we have many challenges in our country, but from today I know that our country will really help us and everything will be fine in our country," said Fifi Masumbuko, a Kimbanguist church member who was out in the streets of Goma celebrating the news.

"It is all of Africa that is in joy because the Congolese government has taken the conscience, has taken the step of decreeing this day to be a day among many others to be celebrated,” said Rev. Charles Mayombo, one of the leaders of the church in Goma.

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