Lenshina, Alice

Lenshina, Alice
(c. 1919–78)
   Sect Founder.
   Lenshina was born in Kasomo, Northern Rhodesia (Zambia), and was baptised as a member of the Presbyterian Church. After a near-death experience, she believed she had a special mission. In her preaching and prophesying, she emphasised the sanctity of marriage and home and she was bitterly opposed to polygamy and traditional African sorcery.
   In 1955 she started her own separate congregation, known as the Lumpa (‘excelling’) Church. They believed that the End was at hand, and conflict soon arose with the local chiefs since the adherents of the new sect wanted to live separately and independently. During the skirmishes more than seven hundred people were killed, while Lenshina herself died in prison after eleven years of captivity. At its height, her movement is estimated to have attracted one hundred thousand people. The Church continued to exist underground after her death, but it is still repressed by the government of Zambia as a threat to law and security.
   G. Bond, ‘A prophecy that failed: the Lumpa Church of Uyombe, Zambia’, in S. Walker (ed.), African Christianity (1979).

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