The eldest of five children, Tshimangadzo Samuel Benedict Daswa was born on 16
June 1946, in the village of Mbahe near Thohoyandou. Growing up in the African
Traditional Religion, he belonged to the Bakali clan of the Lemba tribe, who regard
themselves as descendants of the Jews. They live mainly among the Venda tribe but
are also found among the Northern Sotho and Tsonga tribes in the Province of
Limpopo, South Africa. As a high school student Tshimangadzo took instruction in the
Catholic faith from his catechist, the late Father Benedict Risimati. He was greatly
influenced by this man of deep faith and as a result chose Benedict for his baptismal
name. He made his own the motto of St Benedict, “Pray and Work”, which inspired his
whole life as a Christian. On 21 April 1963 he was baptised by Father Augustine
O’Brien MSC and received his First Holy Communion. Three months later he was
confirmed by Rt Rev Abbot/Bishop F C Van Hoeck OSB, Bishop of Pietersburg
Diocese. After completing High School, Benedict trained as a Primary School teacher.
Word of God
We were indeed buried with him through baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was
raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might live in newness of life. For
if we have grown into union with him through a death like his, we shall also be united
with him in the resurrection. (Romans 6,4-5)
Deepening of Faith
… since Baptism is a true entry into the holiness of God through incorporation into
Christ and the indwelling of his Spirit, it would be a contradiction to settle for a life of
mediocrity, marked by a minimalist ethic and a shallow religiosity. To ask
catechumens:”Do you wish to receive Baptism?” means at the same time to ask them:
“Do you wish to become holy?” It means to set before them the radical nature of the
Sermon on the Mount:”Be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Mt 5:48). (NMI 3)
What does the baptism I have received mean to me?
Do I really wish to become holy, as God is holy?
You guide me along the right path for the sake of your name.
Even when I walk through a dark valley,
I fear no harm for you are at my side; your rod and your staff give me courage.
I will dwell in the house of the Lord for years to come. (Psalm 23, 2b-4.6)