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.[2]


In 1926,[2] Matsoua founded Amicale des Originaires de l'A.E.F., a self-improvement group, while living in Paris.[3] He attended events sponsored by the French Communist Party and helped develop black-based trade unions. Many came to consider Matsoua as a divine prophet, sent by God to liberate the Congolese from the French.[2] According to author Victor T. Le Vine, Matsoua was comparable to Kimbangu, becoming a "martyr in the eyes of his followers" and developing a "quasi-religious aura".[4]

When Matsoua returned to Africa in 1930, he was tried by the colonial government in Brazzaville for anti colonialism. He was sentenced to exile for ten years in Chad, where he escaped in 1935 and fled to France. He was arrested in 1940 and sentenced to forced labor in Brazzaville in February 1941.[2] He was alleged to have spread pro-German propaganda around the capital.[4] He died in prison on 13 January 1942.[2]


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. There is a statue honoring him in Kinkala.[2]

See also[edit]


  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. ^ a b c d e f Clark, John F.; Decalo, Samuel (9 August 2012). Historical Dictionary of Republic of the Congo. Scarecrow Press. p. 29, 274. ISBN 978-0-8108-7989-8. 
  3. ^ Franz Ansprenger (1989). The dissolution of the colonial empires. Taylor & Francis. p. 103. ISBN 978-0-415-03143-1. 
  4. ^ a b Vine, Victor T. Le (2004). Politics in Francophone Africa. Lynne Rienner Publishers. p. 188. ISBN 978-1-58826-249-3.