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Benedict Daswa: South Africa's Miracle

The life of Benedict Daswa, stoned to death in 1990, and who is set to become southern Africa's first saint.

Audrey Brown explores the life and horrific death of Benedict Daswa, a school principal from the Limpopo region who has become such a vital figure for Catholics in southern Africa. Pope Francis is soon to make him South Africa’s first ever saint.

In 1990 Daswa, was beaten to death by a mob of his neighbours after he denied the witchcraft being practised in his village. They ambushed his car as he drove home one evening and chased him down. It is said that, as he was dying, he prayed as the final blows rained down and boiling water poured over his body.

Audrey, travels to her native country and meets the family and friends of Daswa, a convert to Catholicism who originally came from a family of Lemba, a Southern African ethnic group that traces its lineage to ancient Semitic communities in the Middle East. She hears about the man and his faith and how it led to his death at 43, a martyr in the eyes of his church. She also hears how strong traditional spiritualism plays in South African society. And, she asks whether the church is actually looking to fast -track his beatification as a PR exercise to evangalise in areas where traditional spirituality is still popular.

(Photo: Benedict Daswa)

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