Beatification Process Continues for Man Who Resisted African Witchcraft

By Susan Brinkmann, OCDS
Staff Writer

The beatification process of a South African man who was stoned to death after devoting his life to resisting witchcraft and other occult practices so prevalent in his country is advancing to the next phase.

According to a report by the Catholic News Agency, Servant of God Benedict Daswa belonged to the small Lemba tribe among the Venda people in the Limpopo Province in northernmost South Africa. He became a Catholic while training to become an elementary school teacher. After realizing that the common beliefs and practices associated with witchcraft were against his faith, he took a strong stand against them. He also refused the use of “muti” or medicines for protection against evil or for success in sports and other activities.

In 1990 he refused to give money for the purpose of “smelling out” witches. Days later, on Feb. 2, he was stoned and bludgeoned to death. He was killed four months before his 44th birthday.

“All the indications points to the fact that Benedict Daswa led a holy life and became a genuine martyr for the faith,” the Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference (SABC) said in a written statement.

The inquiry into Daswa’s life, conducted by the Diocese of Tzaneen, concluded on July 2 and included over 850 pages of testimonies from reliable witness to the life and death of Daswa.

According to the SABC, prayer cards and a novena will be prepared to help people pray for favors through the intercession of the Servant of God Benedict Daswa.

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