Kimbangu Day in DR Congo Date in the current year: April 6, 2024

Kimbangu Day in DR Congo Kimbangu Day is a public holiday in the Democratic Republic of the Congo celebrated annually on April 6. It honors Simon Kimbangu, a prominent Congolese religious leader, and commemorates the anniversary of his first sermon.

Simon Kimbangu was born on September 12, 1887 in the town of Nkamba. Orphaned at a young age, he was brought up in a British Baptist Missionary Society mission and worked as a catechist before becoming a religious leader. Kimbangu experienced a spiritual awakening and started preaching to the masses in April 1921. According to his disciples, Kimbangu revealed many hidden things from the Bible, prophesied the future, healed the sick, and even raised the dead.

Soon his sermons began to attract thousands of people, and Kimbangu’s large following drew the attention of the Belgian colonials authorities. Although Kimbangu’s sermons were not overtly political, they did promise the liberation of black people, which threatened the colonial regime. As a result, the Belgian authorities arrested Kimbangu and his disciples on June 6, 1921. However, Kimbangu managed to escape with his 7-year-old son Charles and some of his disciples.

After his escape, Kimbangu continued to proselytize in hiding until September 1921, and then turned himself in. A military court found him guilty of disturbing the peace and undermining public security, and sentenced Kimbangu to death. However, the sentence was commuted, and Kimbangu spent the rest of his life in prison, where he died on October 12, 1951.

The colonial authorities tried to suppress Kimbangu’s religious movement after his trial and imprisonment, outlawing Kimbanguism and banishing the most devoted followers. However, the persecution only helped Kimbanguism spread to other parts of the country. It emerged as an organized church in the 1950s thanks to a group of Kimbanguists from Nkamba led by Kimbangu’s youngest son Joseph Diangienda. The Belgian authorities officially recognized the Kimbanguist Church in 1959, eight years after Kimbangu’s death.

The official name of the Kimbanguist Church is the Church of Jesus Christ on Earth Through the Prophet Simon Kimbangu. The church is apolitical and embraces Puritan ethics, rejecting alcohol and tobacco, dancing, polygamy, the use of violence, and magic and witchcraft. Its worship is largely Baptist in form.

Kimbanguism believes that Kimbangu was the Holy Spirit that was sent to Earth from Mount Zion as an infant, and that his birth town of Nkamba is the New Jerusalem mentioned in the Bible. Alongside Kimbangu, the Trinity includes his first son, Father Kisolokele, as the incarnation God the Father; his second son, Father Salomon Diangani Dialungana, as the reincarnation of Jesus Christ; his third son, Father Diangienda Kuntima, as the second human incarnation of the Holy Spirit; and his grandson, Father Simon Kimbangu Kiangani, as the third human incarnation of the Holy Spirit.

The Kimbanguist Church claims to have around 6 million followers, but the actual numbers are believed to be about 300,000 practicing members. For statistical purposes, members of the Kimbanguist Church are usually grouped with other Protestant denominations in DR Congo.

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