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South Africa: Teacher Martyred for Refusing to Engage in Witchcraft to be Honored as Saint

  • Veronica Neffinger
    Religious persecution, missions, Christianity around the world
  • 2015 Sep 14
  • Comments

A South African schoolteacher who was martyred for his refusal to partake in witchcraft, has been beatified as a saint.


According to Christian Today, 25 years ago Benedict Daswa was stoned and beaten to death in the town of Tshitanini, northeast of Johannesburg, after he rejected the assertions of local villagers that a lighting strike was due to witchcraft. 


Daswa instead argued that the destructive storms were simply due to the weather and held no sinister significance. Daswa also refused to donate money to a sorcerer who claimed to have power to end the storms.


Daswa was attacked while driving home. When he got out of his car to remove stones and logs that were blocking the road, his attackers began throwing stones at him.


After his death, Daswa’s faith has been remembered and Pope Francis approved a decree that honored him as a martyr and saint.


"While his executioners were killing him, Benedict Daswa was on his knees praying," a Catholic priest said during the ceremony to beatify Daswa.


Daswa was 43 at the time of his death. No one was ever convicted for Daswa’s murder due to insubstantial evidence.



Publication date: September 14, 2015