Healing rituals as an expression of religious thought among the Mpangu (of the Democratic Republic of the Congo-Kinshasa)

Marie-Angèle Kitewo
The main objective of this thesis is to explore several selected healing rituals performed by the Mpangu people with the purpose of elaborating aspects of their religious thought. The thesis is composed of two parts. The first, comprising four chapters, is a detailed description-interpretation of four healing rituals: Kiziku, Nyka-N'kawu, Kuboonda and the Sunday Worship ritual of Dibuundu di Mpeeve a N'loongo (the Church of the Holy Spirit). The account of each healing ritual is followed by a
more » ... mmentary which is a kind of second reading of the ritual, providing appropriate explanation of keywords and the specific cultural context of the ritual. The second part of the thesis, comprising two chapters, is a comparative analysis of the four healing rituals which identifies the elements common to the rituals and the religious concepts expressed in them. Most fundamental among these concepts is the idea that the well being of the living community is dependent upon harmony with the ancestors, and other "spiritual entities", who reside in an invisible "other world". Communication between the inhabitants of these two worlds, and the maintenance of appropriate reciprocal relationships among them, are seen to be essential to the maintenance of this harmony. From another perspective, it can be said that the existence of illness, death and misfortune indicates that this essential harmony has been eroded, and the healing rituals provide the appropriate context and actions through which proper relationships with the ancestors and other spiritual entities can be restored.
doi:10.25501/soas.00028637 fatcat:3nb3db7dsvhdzfptkttgux5a64