South African teacher murdered for denying witchcraft will be made a Saint

Benedict Daswa,a teacher from South Africa, has been beatified 25 years after he was martyred for refusing to partake in witchcraft.

A South African martyred for refusing to partake in witchraft has been beatified and is on the journey to sainthood.

The school teacher, Benedict Daswa, was murdered 25 years ago by villagers in Tshitanini, northeast of Johannesburg, and has been named South Africa's first "home-grown martyr".

He was beaten to death after he rejected the villagers' belief that a destructive lighting strike had been caused by witchcraft and refused to fund a sorcerer who promised to end the destructive storms.

He argued that the lighting strike, which had burnt down several huts in Tshitanini, was caused by weather, not magic.

Daswa, 43, was attacked as he was driving home having got out of his car to remove stones and logs that were acting as a road block.

He was first stoned by his attackers, before being beaten to death with a stick.

Since his death, Daswa's fame has grown throughout the South African Catholic community.

Pope Francis approved a decree that recognised his martyrdom on 22 January 2015. He was beatified in Limpopo yesterday by Cardinal Angelo Amato on behalf of the Pope.

"While his executioners were killing him, Benedict Daswa was on his knees praying," a Catholic priest said during the ceremony.

People were arrested for his murder, but due to lack of evidence, the case was later dropped.