Live SABC coverage

There was a large Media presence with 350 Media Passes issued on the day. The SABC, the national television broadcaster, televised the whole Ceremony live on News Channel 404, as well as on SABC 2 and we know that it was watched by millions of viewers world-wide. The other television units in attendance were from the BBC and French TV. These broadcasts would have had broad overseas exposure. The SABC and DSTV also had live commentary with reports and some live commentary on a number of radio stations both local and overseas.

There were also a number of News Agencies in attendance, including ENCA, three French News Agencies, German News Agencies, The Star, The Sowetan, City Press, The New Age, Times Media, AD News, Independent News, The Catholic Newspaper from South Australia, and The Southern Cross, which is the Catholic Newspaper in South Africa.

Part of the Congregation of 35,000 to 40,000 People

 The Beatification Ceremony was attended by an estimated 35,000 to 40,000 people, and included the following dignitaries and Daswa Family members:


  • His Excellency Deputy-President of South Africa, Mr Cyril Ramaphosa;
  • The Minister of Water and Sanitation, Ms Nomvula Mokonyane;
  • The Minister of Transport, Ms Elizabeth Dipuo Peters;
  • The Venda King, King Tony Mphephu, Thovhela M Mphaphuli, and about 20 Traditional Leaders
  • Mr Rob Tooley, representing the Premier of Limpopo Province, Mr Chupu Mathabatha;
  • The Premier of Gauteng Province, Mr David Makhura;
  • The Thulamela Mayor, Counsellor Grace Mahosi;
  • The Leader of COPE, Mr Mosiuoa Lekota;
  • Members of the Daswa family, led by Mrs Ida Thidziambi Daswa, 90 yearold mother of Blessed Benedict.
Catholic Church Representation

The Catholic Church was represented by:

  • Angelo Cardinal Amato SDB, representing Pope Francis;
  • Wilfrid Cardinal Napier OFM, Archbishop of Durban;
  • Archbishop Stephen Brislin, Chairman of the Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference;
  • Bishop Joao Rodrigues, Bishop of the Diocese of Tzaneen
  • Bishop Hugh Slattery MSC, Bishop-Emeritus of the Diocese of Tzaneen
  • Thirty-five Bishops from South Africa and neighbouring countries
  • Approximately 300 priests, 20 religious brothers and 300 religious sisters from all parts of the country and neighbouring countries
  • Over forty seminarians studying for the priesthood
  • Representatives from other Christian Denominations.
Looking towards the Altar and the Podium

The Congregation:

It was initially expected that about 15,000 people would attend the Ceremony. Reliable estimates put the congregation in attendance at between 40,000 and 45,000 people. This really manifested the great devotion that the ordinary people have for the Blessed Martyr. People came on foot, by taxi, bus and car from all over South Africa and from our neighbouring countries – from places as far away as Cape Town, Durban, Kimberly, Botswana, Namibia, Lesotho, Eastern Cape and Soweto. Countries as distant as Australia, the United States of America, Italy, France, Ireland and England were also represented at the beatification. All participated with exuberant joy, reverence and respect. It was indeed a remarkable and uplifting experience for all those fortunate to have been there on that unforgettable day.