On martyrs

Benedict Daswa


Will Benedict Daswa become the first Catholic martyr in South Africa? From America:


On February 2, 1990, Benedict Daswa (44) was murdered in a small village called Mbahe, near Thoyandou, in the North West of South Africa. On Jan. 22, 2015, a few days before the anniversary of his death, Pope Francis authorized the promulgation of the decree of martyrdom. 

Daswa, a layman, was murdered because of his opposition to the use of “muti” or traditional medicines. These medicines are commonly used for protection against evil or to obtain success in business and other areas of life like relationships. He refused to give money to those organizing a hunt for, what some believed, was a witch in the area. Two days later he was brutally stoned and bludgeoned to death. Daswa was an outstanding member of the local Catholic Community and converted to Catholicism while training to be a teacher. Later, he built a school and church and became a well known catechist in the area.


And Pope Francis has given Oscar Romero’s case for beatification more impetus by recognising him as a martyr killed ‘in hatred of the faith’ in El Salvador, March 1980. Fort those in Europe and the United States with only the most tangential notions about  Latin American struggles or liberation theology, this may not be welcome or  even interesting news but Archbishop Romero has long held martyr status in the Third World.


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