Accepted paper:

Ndjili/Kinshasa: spirit of place, Pentecostal spirit and spiritual warfare


Bénédicte Meiers (University of Liège (Belgium))

Paper short abstract:

From local spirituality to the Spirit of Pentecost and Spiritual Warfare against territorial spirits, the aim of this contribution is to show how inhabitants are fighting to cross the borders of themselves and the territoriality (locality and ethno-nationality) they are assigned to.

Paper long abstract:

Ndjili, a suburban locality created under the status of "centre extra-coutumier" in the 50's, was an important place of clandestine spiritual practices (kintwadi and bangunza), moving from home to home. There in quarter 3, the Spirit of Pentecost, called to rescue by some local men of God, made its entry after a long conflict (1959-1964) about God's language (tshiluba versus kikongo). Speaking in Tongues appeared to be a good opportunity trying to leave 'ethni-city', territory, and corpority. From French speaking Vernaud and English speaking Lovic (Assemblies of God) to lingala translation, a new generation of God's interpreters was born. Ndjili, where American Evangelist T. L. Osborn fought his first campaign in 1969, was also a good place for spiritual 'glocalization'. The bana Ndjili migrating to Paris in the 80's took the Pentecostal and charismatic practices under their coats and opened there the first 'congolese churches'. But the same question occurs: Does God speak lingala? And how then to make its own place in the world ? From Pentecostal Spirit to Spiritual Warfare against territorial spirits (i.e. crocodile's spirit as blocking territorial spirit) in the 90's, this contribution, based on fieldwork in Ndjili/Kinshasa and original testimonies, aims to show how people are fighting to cross over the locality (the village as metaphor) they are attached to. Each evangelic assembly becoming a new 'place of birth', where (af)filiation and reinvention of oneself are made possible, and the Bible a territory to move through, trans-ported by the charismatic migrant Spirit.

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Spirit of place