Pope blesses first SA martyr
THOHOYANDOU — South African school teacher Benedict Daswa, who was bludgeoned to death for resisting witchcraft, was beatified on Sunday, becoming the first person from the southern African region to undergo the key step toward sainthood.
He was proclaimed “blessed” in an apostolic letter read on behalf of Pope Francis by Italian Cardinal Angelo Amato to some 30 000 people during mass in Tshitanini village, not far from Daswa’s house in South Africa’s northern Limpopo province.
“We grant that the venerable servant of God, Tshimangadzo Samuel Benedict Daswa, layman and family man... a zealous catechist, all-round educator who gave heroic witness to the gospel, even to the shedding of blood, from now on will be called ‘Blessed’,” said Amato.
The crowd applauded wildly and some blew traditional animal horns.
Daswa was beaten to death 25 years ago by fellow villagers after he refused to pay a sorcerer who promised to end destructive storms hammering the region.
First stoned by his assailants, Daswa ran to safety in a hut before being found by the mob and beaten to death with a stick.
Prayed till death
ITALIAN Cardinal Angelo Amato leads the procession during the beatification mass for Benedict Daswa in Thohoyandou, on Sunday.