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Kimpa Vita

Kimpa Vita (Dona Beatrice)
c. 1682 to 1706
The Antonian Movement
Congo/Democratic Republic of Congo/Angola


Known by her Christian name, Dona Beatrice, she emerged as a popular prophetic figure after a long period of political decline among the Kongo. She claimed to be the incarnation of the Portuguese Saint Anthony. For two years she preached a form of Christian anti-Catholicism which emphasized traditional Kongo symbolism and cultural roots. The Kongo king, Pedro IV, under pressure from missionaries at his court, had her burned at the stake as a heretic. Her Antonian church survived her passing and briefly provided a focus for the revitalization of the kingdom in the 18th century.

Mark R. Lipschutz and R. Kent Rasmussen



Bibliography:

Jadin, Louis. "Le Congo et la secte des Antoniens. . . 1694-1718." Bulletin de l'institut historique belge de Rome (1961): 411-615.
Balandier, Georges. Daily Life in the Kingdom of the Kongo. Translated by H. Weaver. New York: Pantheon Books, 1968.


This article is reproduced, with permission, from Dictionary of African Historical Biography, 2nd edition, copyright © 1986, by Mark R. Lipschutz and R. Kent Rasmussen, University of California Press, Berkeley and Los Angeles, California. All rights reserved.