Accepted Paper:

Mediumship in Kimbanguist inspired hymns  

Author:

Aurelien Mokoko Gampiot (CNRS)

Paper short abstract:

This paper aims to disclose the mediumship at work behind the Kimbanguist inspired hymns, by analyzing life stories collected in ethnographic fieldwork among inspired men and women.

Paper long abstract:

Defined as "songs from the angels" by certain scholars of African initiated churches or as "songs from Heaven" by others, what the Kimbanguist church calls inspired hymns is a phenomenon situated between the natural and supernatural worlds. Born in the 1920s with the movement launched by Simon Kimbangu against the Belgian colonial order in Congo, inspired hymns are one of the key characteristics of the Kimbanguist church. Indeed, they constitute a vast body of syncretic Christian literature which is superimposed to the Bible.

But Kimbanguist inspired hymns cannot exist without the inspired persons themselves—as they are known to the Kimbanguist believers. They act as discrete mediums between the visible and invisible worlds, the profane and the sacred, as they receive spiritual messages from the other world and then transmit them to the visible world, particularly the various choirs gathering church members.

This paper aims to disclose the mediumship at work behind the Kimbanguist inspired hymns, by analyzing life stories collected in ethnographic fieldwork among inspired men and women.

Panel MB-SSR07
The ontological turn: new ethnographic approaches, theories and analysis of spirit mediumship, shamanism, religious ritual and discarnate phenomena