Beatification of Daswa a ‘significant moment for SA’ - Zuma

2015-09-12 22:49
Jacob Zuma. (GCIS)

Jacob Zuma. (GCIS)

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Cape Town - President Jacob Zuma has described Sunday’s planned beatification of Benedict Daswa as a "significant moment for our country".

"Such ceremonies are extremely rare in the history of the Catholic Church. This is the first ever beatification in Southern Africa," he said in a statement.

Daswa, a Limpopo school principal, was beaten, stoned and burnt to death in 1990 by villagers who attacked him after he refused to pay a sorcerer who promised to end destructive storms hammering the region. He attempted to convince the residents the heavy rains were a natural occurrence.

"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," Zuma said.

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", he added.

"The church has described Mr Daswa as a man who led a holy life, was 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."

Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa will also be attending the service.

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