The Church in South Africa is preparing to celebrate the beatification of Benedict Samuel Tshimangadzo Daswa, wo was killed on 2 February 1990, the country's first martyr to be recognized.
In that month there had been a series of exceptionally violent storms raging in the area of Benedict's village. The local people thought they were due to acts of witchcraft. The council of elders decided to consult a healer and the villagers were asked to contribute five Rand to pay for his advice. Benedict said the thunderstorms were natural phenomena and refused to pay. This made many villagers angry.
On 2 February 1990, the car Benedict was traveling in was blocked with a road ambush. He managed to escape on foot, and hid in a house. But faced with the threat to kill the woman who hid him, Benedict gave himself to his captors, entrusting his soul to the Lord. He was stabbed to death and his body covered with boiling water.
On January 22, Pope Francis authorized the Congregation for the Causes of Saints to promulgate the decree which recognizes the martyrdom of Tshimangadzo Samuele Benedetto Daswa (Bakali), layman, 'killed in hatred of the Faith, on February 2, 1990, in Mbahe, South Africa.'
The beatification ceremony in the presence of the representative of Pope Francis, Cardinal Angelo Amato, Prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, will be held on September 13 at the Benedict Daswa Shrine, in Tshitanini in Limpopo Province.
For more information visit: www.daswabeatification.org.za