Daswa died as democracy was born: Ramaphosa

2015-09-13 15:51
Tshimangadzo Daswa

Tshimangadzo Daswa

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Johannesburg - There was a deeper meaning to the fact that newly-blessed South African Tshimangadzo Daswa was killed on the day the unbanning of the ANC and the release of Nelson Mandela was announced, Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa said in Limpopo on Sunday.

"Such is the dramatic confluence of events in our country," said Ramaphosa, addressing the large crowd at the beatification ceremony in Thohoyandou in Limpopo.

Daswa, a Limpopo school principal, was beaten, stoned and burnt to death on February 2nd, 1990 by villagers who attacked him after he refused to engage with allegations of witchcraft in the community, or take persecutory steps against it.

"[Daswa] paid the ultimate price for his beliefs on the same day [then President] FW De Klerk announced the unbanning...".

Thus, on February 2nd, as Daswa was murdered, the country was on the brink of a "new birth and beginning, as all of us looked forward to the dawning of democracy," said the deputy president, dressed in a black suit and red tie and who adopted a solemn demeanour during his address.

As such, South Africans were encouraged to "take a leaf" from Daswa's book, and honour his memory by reiterating a commitment against witchcraft, ritual killings and violence to occur.

"Witchhunts must come to an end."

These practices did not "define us South Africans," said Ramaphosa.  "In fact, they debase us as South Africans; they make us subhuman."

"Daswa should not have died in vain."

Restore dignity

Rather, suggested Ramaphosa: "Let us live as humans beings following the values of the constitution... We should not be attacking those we do not agree with."

Earlier, Ramaphosa thanked the Pope and Catholic Church for the honour that had been bestowed on the country, region and Daswa family.

"This is the first time in history...  that a South African man is being recognised as a blessed martyr of Christ.

"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," said President Jacob Zuma in a statement issued earlier this weekend.

"Mr Daswa lost his life because he believed in human rights."

According to Sunday's ceremony, Daswa is now proclaimed blessed - the first step towards sainthood.

Read more on:    roman catholic church  |  polokwane  |  religion

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