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Baptised in Blood: Saint Manche Masemola | Documentary Idea

by Benison Makele
(Johannesburg, Sout Africa)

This cathartic, thought-provoking human interest story is a heart-rending one about a 14 year-old girl killed by her own parents for converting to the Anglican faith in the 1920s in Sekhukhuneland, Lmpopo Province, South Africa. It is a story that begins in Ga-Marishane village in the sePedi kingdom and ends on the Great West Door of Westminster Abbey, London, UK where she is one of 10 depicted 20th century martyrs from all over the world.


The story is told against the background of the arrival of English and German missioners in the kingdom. In the tense atmosphere generated by clashes between adherents of the Christian faith and traditional sePedi belief systems, there is uneasy co-existence between the two. Manche Masemola and a cousin become attracted to the new religion. Her parents warn her against it. She defies them. Beatings follow.

The church gives her "European" clothes to prepare for the baptism ceremony. Her parents burn the clothes. The girl continues her church-going regardless of the floggings. She vows to be baptised one day, even if "it's in her own blood."

Consummatum est - it is finished. True to fate, they take her to an isolated space in the bushes, one day, where they hack her to death with a machete and later bury her under a small mound of earth. Her prophecy had been fulfilled.

Four years later, the Church declares her burial place a pilgrimage site.

Ten years later, she is declared a martyr by the Anglican church of the Province of Southern Africa and later canonised a saint before being immortalised in a statue at Westminster Abbey.

Forty years later, her mother is herself baptised into the Anglican church.

Comments for Baptised in Blood: Saint Manche Masemola | Documentary Idea

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Aug 04, 2011
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Incredible history, never heard of this girl
by: Desktop Documentaries

This is an incredible story, Benison. And you are a very good writer and storyteller by the way! Are there photos or other images of the girl and her family? How could this documentary be told? Do you have access to historians or relatives of the girl who could help tell this story? This would actually make a great movie too! Have you thought of turning it into a screenplay?

Thanks for sharing another great idea!

Aug 05, 2011
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writer's comments
by: Benison Makele

Hi Faith

True, you may never have heard of the story of Manche. Most South Africans do not know about it, even Anglicans. I myself came across ir by accident. I was editing a couple of municipal newsletters from the Greater Sekhukhune District Municipality when I chanced on it. That's many years ago.I immediately gave the story to a journalist friend, who also did not know it. And that is how South Africans, I mean those who happened to read my friend's paper at the time, got to know about Manche's story. I fully agree with you that it would make a good movie. But, like I said, these ideas are the only wealth that I am blessed with. While I dream big about them, I have no material means to put my dreams into effect. That's a cruel fate but then that's how things are at the moment. Thanks again to Desktop Documentaries for appreciating my creations.

Sincerely

Benison Makele

Aug 05, 2011
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Writer's comments
by: Benison Makele


Sorry Faith I forgot to give you a reference for the story cos I didnt have it ready. Still don't have. You could punch the names: Saint Manche Masemola in any search engine snd you will grt to know the story better.

Benison Makele


Aug 05, 2011
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Writer's comments
by: Benison Makele

There are images of the girl that I can get. I know how the story could be told documentary fashion as I have the whole script with me. Anything and everything that one can ever ask for.

Sincerely

Benison Makele

Oct 21, 2011
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baptised in blood
by: tate tshehla

hi! Benison Mokale,,what a piece !! i and thulane mokoena from setho productions we have been rolling , filming manches documentary over a period of four years.we have unseen footage of jane-furse and Gamarishane from the early days of manche, plus pictures of Father Moeka.

Oct 26, 2011
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another insight
by: kg

great story bt 2 say her parents killed her with a machete is far fetched,my grandparents lived with manche and what she told me is far from what you wrote, only if you can sit down with her and let you narate the hole story will you understand. they lived at ga-marishane in a place called makgapeng (my mum lived there until they emmigrated to sehlakwane)but i used to visit da place a lot as my great grandparents are buried the..........will tell you more about it one day

Jun 12, 2012
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Documentary in development
by: Jacky Lourens

Hi,

I'm a documentary filmmaker and am currently working with a relative of Manche Masemola on a documentary to tell this story. We are quite far into development of the story and are now in the process of raising funds.

When I googled Manche's name I came across this website and I find Benison Makele's documentary idea. I enjoyed your comments and as you are so passionate about the story, we would like to make contact with you.

Sincerely
Jacky

Jun 06, 2013
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True Version
by: Anonymous

What is contained in here is not the truth. Though Manche has gone through lot of assault by her mother, Masegadike, she did not die that way.
The truth is, her mother prevented her and her sister, Mabule, one Saturday to go to church the following sunday, they were helping their mother to cultivate in the field. Their mother told them that she was far behind schedule and they must help her that sunday to catch up with cultivation in stead of going to church. The two girls were not in favour of that, but did not tell their mother. Late that saturday afternoon when their mother went home, they left behind and told their mother that they would first go and fetch wood before coming home. Their mother put her hoe on the palce they are used to put and left for home. The girls remained. Instead of going to fetch wood as they promised, they continued with cultivation (hoeing).The following day their mother found that the whole field is fully cultivated and suspected that a zombi did that over the night.She looked for the girls to ask them, but they already gone to church.They put the hoes on a different place. Their mother went to a traditional sankoma to work on the girls' hoes.When the girls came back from church, they picked up their hoes which were already worked on by the sankoma and were infected with the muti, so they later died.

Source: My father, born 1929, died 2009
My aunt, born 1915, died 2011
My other aunt, born 1918 and still alive
The 3 of them grew in the same village as Manche and my aunts know her personally.






Jan 15, 2014
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manche story
by: Anonymous

Rev Vuyisile Sonti
The story of Manche is exciting as I read the comments and the story itself I believe its time to make a film or a stage play that would bring the whole story to the public.I am sure that we all understand that even the story of our Lord Jesus has different versions but none the less the story is told.
Please confirm the fact that she is a Saint ?
Should a parish remember her,would it be correct to use red colour in that service

The Anglican church should take the responsibility to research more on this martyr and follow up some of the comments made as the comments made have an impact to the churches understanding of the story and its teaching.

Mar 04, 2014
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:)
by: Anonymous

I love this story, but it would be cool to tell it from multiple perspectives.

Jun 11, 2014
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Touching story indeed
by: Masemola Patience

When I first heard about Manche I couldn't believe what her Parents did to her. Its amazing how she handled things, never lost hope even if she was beaten everytime she went to church. I just wish people could have hope like she did.

Sep 19, 2015
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A painful but encouraging story
by: Anonymous

Born and bred in GaMarishane.I heard the story when I was still young but did not inquire more. Manche's mother,Masegadike used to visit my mother frequently because they shared the same name. I am 69 years old and regret why I did not ask my late mother the truth about Saint Manche Masemola. But I was proud in 2007 when I saw Manche's statue at Westminster Abbey. I hope more light will be shared by those who know what truly happened. What I have is the mental picture of the short, wrinkled, light complexion, tiny body of Masegadike who used to visit us at Maweseleng at GaMarishane.





Jul 24, 2016
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manche's story
by: mosehle austin

As a member of the anglican church of ga marishane ...the drama of manche masemola is being played every year the first weekend of August every year the day before the pilgrimage -its prbably where the story lies therefore your presence is acceptable



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