Of Prophecy, Mythmaking and Martyrdom in the Manche Masemola Narrative: I Will Be Baptised in my Blood
Journal Studia Historiae Ecclesiasticae
This paper explores why the Anglican Church in Jane Furse used the Manche Masemola narrative to construct martyrdom. Like most hagiographies, Manche's narrative is told to inspire admiration and reverence. It uses Manche as a model worthy of emulation by Christian converts. She is a product of two conflicting worlds, the imperial Christian world and that of the Bapedi. The story of Manche Masemola hinges on the claim of a prophecy: "I will be baptised in my blood." The narrative imbues Manche
... th the power of this prophecy. This paper argues that the prophecy is part of a myth to authenticate church dogma and to validate conversion into Christianity when proselytising and evangelising were not warmly received. In that hostile environment, new recruits into Christianity needed to be strengthened and inspired to accept—and die—for their new faith. I will explore the controversies of the prophecy; its origins and place in the narrative; and finally examine the testimony provided to construct martyrdom. Although I draw on a few primary sources from the Anglican archives, I largely use secondary data to explain why it was necessary that Manche was to be turned into a martyr to achieve religious and missionary goals.