This article focuses on the relations between the Internet, religion and ‘Kongo history’. The websites under study claim an existing ‘Kongo community’ and recurrently evoke the Kongo kingdom and historical figures like Kimpa Vita and Simon Kimbangu. Texts and images on Kongo history have long been available in print media, but through the increasing accessibility to the Internet and the consequent possibilities of online activities the distribution of these texts and images have obtained a new dynamic. The article focuses on the references to Kongo history as persuasive strategy and procedure to include or exclude groups of people as intended audience. It will be shown that on religious websites with a ‘Kongo connection’, history functions in a framework of truth versus lies, through which studying and subsequently revealing the true history of the ‘chosen’ people can lead to redemption. ‘History’ on these sites is not only important for its particular contents, it also functions in formal and stylistic ways to convince a particular audience. Through this analysis, it will be possible to connect the fashionable scholarly notion of ‘style’ to the ways in which the past is made to function in the present.
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- History of Congo