Kimpa Vita was born of noble parentage in the Kongo, probably the descendant of a king. She trained as a nganga marinda (someone able to communicate with spirits). Even at a young age she had visions. As she developed, she preached to the people about their African spiritual traditions. She manifested many miracles including: raising the dead; healing the sick and enabling sterile women to conceive.
She was known to fast for very long periods of time, between 14 – 40 days. During some of her fasts, her body would begin to decompose. Once her spirit returned, her body would restore itself. It is said that she died every Friday and spent each weekend in Heaven. There she spoke with the spirits about the affairs of the Kongo (Congo). Vita Kimpa became very popular, people followed her everywhere she went. Her many miracles and prophesies serving as a powerful witness.
Kimpa Vita Restored The Ancestral Traditions
She spiritually awakened the people to return to their Ancestral religion. She also commissioned missionaries to teach the people. As a result, there was a sharp decline in Christianity. The church was greatly disturbed by these development, and made plans to rid itself of Kimpa Vita .
Kimpa also began to reunite the kingdom which became divided under Portuguese rule. She rebuilt the city of Mbanza
Depiction of the City of Mbanza which was destroyed by the invaders, as was their custom throughout Africa.
Kongo, which defied the ban imposed by the Portuguese. No black man was allowed to enter the ruined City of Mbanza Kongo, since the invaders burnt it to the ground.
She set about to restore the kingdom. When the time finally came to choose the King, she requested that all the chiefs cast their votes in a fair manner. The successful candidates would then be required to fast for 40 days. After the fast was completed, they would then choose the king. The groups split up, Kimpa Vita’s group going far into the bush to fast.
The Plan To Kill Her
When the news reached the terroristic, invaders that Kimpa Vita had gone into the forest, they decided it was time to kill her. The location of Kimpa Vita was submitted by an informant, to the Portuguese.
Once they located her, they arrested her and killed all those who were present with her. They then took her to a place called Divululu. There, on the mountain, they tortured her, demanding that she renounce her Ancestral teachings. She refused.
Kimpa Vita Lives On
In an effort to restore Christianity in the land, the church demonized her, describing her as a witch. She was burned on a stake by the Portuguese, on the advice of two priests Bernardo da Gallo and Lorenzo da Lucca. Vita Kimpa was only 17 (some say 22) years old when she died. Even in her death Kimpa lives on. The slaves in Haiti and other parts of South America, invoked her in their attempts to overcome the evil in which they were engulfed.
As a result of a later rewriting of history she is no longer regarded as a witch and a heretic. Instead, she is now depicted as a staunch defender of the Christian traditions.