Original Research - Special Collection: Social Memory Studies

(W)riting and (de)scribing martyrdom: The church’s construction of Manche Masemola

Sekgothe Mokgoatšana
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 76, No 4 | a6120 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v76i4.6120 | © 2020 Sekgothe Mokgoatšana | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 12 May 2020 | Published: 23 November 2020

About the author(s)

Sekgothe Mokgoatšana, Department of Cultural and Political Studies, University of Limpopo, Sovenga, Limpopo, South Africa


The purpose of this article is to describe how the Manche Masemola narrative crafts and constructs her as a martyr; dying in defence of her faith in the face of fierce religious competition between her Sepedi culture and Anglican faith. Manche is constructed as an extraordinary person who symbolises Virtue, battling with Vice. This article will examine Manche’s personality, and how the various commentators put her against unbearable conditions which only an extraordinary person can face. Tropes of torture, sacrifice and persecution will receive attention as instruments to construct martyrdom. This article will use primary and secondary data available to collect data. Data will be broken into themes and analysed using a narrative method.

Contribution: This article continues a long debate of martyrdom and sainthood. It probes further the polysemous nature of martyrdom, its complexity, as well as the politics that go with it.


Manche Masemola; martyrdom; martyr; torture; persecution; sacrifice


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