A South African school principal, bludgeoned to death 25 years ago for refusing to take part in a witchcraft-related ritual, was beatified by the Catholic Church yesterday, moving him a step closer to sainthood.
Benedict Daswa, murdered by his fellow villagers in 1990, was named the country’s first home-grown martyr at a ceremony that took place in northern Limpopo province and was broadcast live on television.
A letter from Pope Francis, read out by his envoy Cardinal Angelo Amato, declared Daswa would join the ranks of ‘The Blessed’ for his “heroic witness to the Gospel, even to the shedding of blood.”
Daswa was killed after he refused to join villagers in consulting a traditional sorcerer about a lightning strike that burnt down several huts in Tshitanini, more than 500km north-east of Johannesburg.
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