Mama Lenshina , The Greatest Woman Of Influence In Africa-Access Full Details Below
THE LEGENDARY STORY
MAMA LENSHINA , THE GREATEST WOMAN OF INFLUENCE IN AFRICA.
PROPHETESS ALICE LENSHINA MULENGA MUBISHA
Prophetess Alice Lenshina Mulenga Mubisha was the founder of a powerful African independent church movement at the time of Zambian independence. Beginning as an anti witchcraft movement, it clashed with the new government when it rejected secular authority.
She was born Alice Mulenga Lubusha in 1920 in the Chinsali district of the northern province of Northern Rhodesia.
Alice was her baptismal name, while Mulenga was her traditional African name. The name “Lenshina” was a Bemba form of the Latin word “regina” (“queen”).
Lenshina was a baptismal candidate with a Presbyterian mission when she received a series of visions in which she believed that she was taken to heaven and given divine messages instructing her to destroy witchcraft and sorcery.
She claimed to have died and been resurrected four times. In 1953 she began a movement called Lumpa (meaning “better than all others” in Bemba) in a town that she renamed Zion. She took the name Lenshina, meaning queen. Despite her claims, a Presbyterian pastor baptized her, an event that seems to have had a profound impact on her intensifying her visions. She and her husband were expelled in 1955, however, and began their preaching mission. Crowds of adherents soon joined them, and by 1959 there was an organized church with ministers and between 50,000 and 100,000 members, most of whom had left either Presbyterian or Catholic missions.
Lenshina preached a basically Christian doctrine but with baptism as the only observance. Baptism was a special ceremony administered by Lenshina herself. She attacked witchcraft and sorcery, which placed her in the long tradition of witch eradication movements in Central Africa, but to these she added the condemnation of alcohol and polygamy.
The Lumpa composed spirited Bemba hymns, far superior to the wooden translations in use among Protestants and Catholics. The religion gathered its members into villages where the hymns and rejection of traditional religious practices created what she promoted as a new, cleansed society worthy to receive the Savior when He came again. The grand cathedral built at Zion in 1958 has a pillar upon which Jesus Christ was to descend for His second coming.
The problematic teaching of the Lumpa Church for the government – both colonial and independent – was its opposition to earthly authority, a doctrine it seems to have accepted from the Watchtower Society, itself a splinter sect of the Jehovah’s Witnesses.
A grand temple was built at Zion (the name given to her home village) in 1958. Gradually the revival became a witchcraft eradication movement and evolved into an independent church called the Lumpa Church in 1955. The new church rapidly grew in soul winning. Lumpa was so successful that by the late 1950s it may have had up to 150,000 members in the northern and eastern provinces of Northern Rhodesia. The church’s drive for membership was so aggressive that it was seen as a political threat by the colonial Northern Rhodesia government.
In the final stages, roughly two months before independence in October 1964, the army moved in on Lumpa Church settlements.
The Lumpa church members were not only suspicious of outsiders and political party members, but openly hostile. There had been skirmishes and a few deaths and reprisals before the real massacres began. Lumpa church members stopped sending their children to school. In addition, the church had defied local law and set up villages without permission of local chiefs. This disregard and isolation led to suspicion and aggression. Animosity had grown between church members and UNIP supporters.
Kenneth Kaunda certainly tried to avert the crisis, but perhaps at that point things had gone too far. An agreement brokered by KK was drawn up for church settlements to disperse, but this was not honoured or enforced. The church began to develop end-time tendencies, believing that their time on earth was short. They stopped cultivating food and had to resort to raids on neighbouring villages instead.
The Lumpa church members were mostly armed with sharp sticks, spears and pangas, whilst the Northern Rhodesia Regiment (NRR) were armed with automatic rifles. In spite of there having been a couple of causalities on the army side (mainly during their attempts to negotiate) there was no contest in the end. As many as a thousand Lumpas were killed. With independence approaching, the killings did not perhaps receive the kind of attention that they might have done in less tense circumstances. The government was more concerned with preparation for independence.
Alice Lenshina died in detention in 1978. Shortly before her death, she concluded that the political undercurrents in her message had obscured her original message of spiritual wholeness and integrity.
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