Religion, Class and the Katangese Secession, 1957–1962

  • Reuben A. LoffmanEmail author
Part of the Cambridge Imperial and Post-Colonial Studies Series book series (CIPCSS)


When the Belgian Congo became independent, the newly formed Democratic Republic of the Congo quickly became divided. The Katangese government declared the province an independent state and this forced people to choose which government they were allied to. The literate middle class that developed in Kongolo, particularly those on the right bank, sided with the secession whereas many on the left bank often sided with the Congolese state. The secession soon turned violent and many were forced to flee Kongolo—including many members of the clergy. Militant nationalists associated the Church with the secession and the outgoing colonial regime and so targeted missionaries and their congregations. By 1962, most of the Spiritan missionaries had been murdered and many of the White Fathers headed back to Belgium even if only temporarily.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of HistoryQueen Mary University of LondonLondonUK

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