Daswa beatification will change Thohoyandou – Zuma

2015-09-13 08:37
Jacob Zuma. (GCIS)

Jacob Zuma. (GCIS)

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Johannesburg - The beatification of Tshimangadzo Daswa on Sunday will forever change Thohoyandou in Venda, Limpopo, according to President Jacob Zuma.

In a statement issued on Saturday, Zuma said Daswa's beatification will see the late school principal become the first ever South African referred to as "blessed".

"This is a significant moment for our country and indeed the African continent as a whole," Zuma said.

"Such ceremonies are extremely rare in the history of the Catholic Church. This is the first ever beatification in Southern Africa. We are truly humbled that a South African is being honoured in this manner."

He congratulated the Southern African Catholic Bishops Conference for taking this step and wished the church a successful historic mass on Sunday.

Daswa's mother and children are expected to attend the service, with Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa also in attendance as a representative of government.  

Person of deep prayer

Daswa was born on June 16 1946 in Mbahe, 20km from Thohoyandou.

"The church has described Mr Daswa as a man who led a holy life, a diligent worker, a good family man, an industrious educator, an active layman, an avid sportsman, an involved community leader, a man of charity and, above all, a person of deep prayer and spirituality," Zuma said.

Daswa was beaten, stoned and burnt to death for his beliefs on February 2 1990, the same day former president FW de Klerk announced the release of late former president Nelson Mandela, and the unbanning of political organisations.

"The Beatification service will restore the dignity of Mr Daswa and inspire people all over the world to do good at all times even under extremely difficult situations," Zuma said.

"Mr Daswa lost his life because he believed in human rights and dignity and did not support the persecution of fellow villagers on allegations of witchcraft."

"Many people, especially elderly women, have lost their lives due to accusations of witchcraft in some communities."

Such practices have no place in South Africa and it is pleasing this is not widespread, Zuma said.

Read more on:    roman catholic church  |  jacob zuma  |  cyril ramaphosa  |  religion

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