African religious leader
Kampa Vita was a member of the nobility in the west-central African kingdom of KONGO. For a time, she was a nganga, a person who performed certain important rituals. After recovering from an illness, she claimed to have died and returned to life possessed by the spirit of the Christian saint Anthony. Taking the name of Beatrice, she began a religious movement known as Antonianism.
At the time Kongo was engaged in a long civil war. In response to the violence and misery caused by the war, Kimpa Vita urged the people to unite and rebuild their kingdom. In 1705 she moved to the abandoned capital at Mbanza Kongo, and many supporters joined her. The following year she was arrested by the Christian king of the Kongo, Pedro IV.
Because of her religious views, which differed from church teaching, she was accused of being a heretic and burned at the stake. (See also Christianity in Africa, Prophetic Movements, Religion and Ritual, Spirit Possession.)