Pope blesses first SA mar­tyr

Lesotho Times - - Africa -

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.

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