The Bishop of Tzaneen, Mgr Joao Rodrigues, has asked the faithful to pray for the Congress meeting of theological advisers appointed by the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, that on 9 October will have to assess whether the Servant of God Benedict Daswa, can be considered a martyr.
Tshimangadzo Samuel Benedict Daswa belonged to the Lemba tribe, whose members are called 'Black Jews' because they follow the Jewish rules. He was born in 1946 in the village of Mbahe, in the Diocese of Tzaneen, in Limpopo Province, in the north-east of South Africa. In 1963, after converting to Catholicism, Benedict Daswa had become a fervent activist in the Catholic Church and an important reference point for the community of the faithful.
In February 1990, following a series of strong storms that raged in his native village, local people thought that these phenomena were due to acts of witchcraft. The council of elders then decided to consult a healer and asked the villagers for an individual contribution of five Rand to pay for his advice. Benedict replied that storms are natural phenomena. He was killed for his refusal to support witchcraft.
On 2 February 1990, the car Benedict was traveling in was blocked by some individuals. He managed to escape on foot and hid in a house. He was later found and stabbed to death and his body covered with boiling water. If his martyrdom is approved, Benedict would be one step away from becoming the first South African-born saint.
See a short film about Benedict here: www.youtube.com/watch?v=K2V2tT50ThQ