André Matsoua

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André Grenard Matsoua (or Matswa; 17 January 1899 – 13 January 1942) was a Congolese Lari religious figure and politician born in Manzakala-Kinkala in then Middle Congo,[1] a rare influential figure in Congolese politics before independence in 1960. He inspired a messianic cult, Matsouanism, that emerged in the French Equatorial African capital, Brazzaville. However, he had more influence after his death than during his life.

In the late 1920s, Matsoua founded Amicale des Originaires de l'A.E.F., a self-improvement group, while living in Paris.[2] He attended events sponsored by the French Communist Party and helped develop black-based trade unions. When he returned to Africa, he was repeatedly imprisoned by the colonial government and died in prison in 1942.

The Amicale then developed highly political and spiritual elements when its members adopted Matsoua as the messiah and became heavily involved in anti-French subversion.

After independence, Congolese politicians of many ideological shades attempted to capitalize on Matsoua's popularity, including Presidents Abbé Fulbert Youlou, Alphonse Massamba-Débat and Denis Sassou-Nguesso, as well as the insurgent leader Bernard Kolélas.

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  1. ^ Derrick, Jonathan (2008). Africa's "agitators" : militant anti-colonialism in Africa and the west, 1918-1939. New York: Columbia University Press. p. 241. ISBN 9780231700566. 
  2. ^ Franz Ansprenger (1989). The dissolution of the colonial empires. Taylor & Francis. p. 103. ISBN 978-0-415-03143-1.