Manche Masemola was born in the Transvaal of South Africa in 1913 into a family whose village practiced animism. The girl had no opportunity for education until a Christian priest established a mission near her home in 1919. Despite her parents' objections, Manche attended worship services and religion classes. Manche's parents feared that the Christian faith would take her away from their traditional religious practices, and beat her every time she attended the mission. "I shall be baptized with my own blood," the girl predicted. Her mother took away her clothes so she couldn't go to the mission; Manche ran away, naked.
On February 4, 1928, Manche's parents called in a sangoma (spirit priest) because they feared she was bewitched and needed to give up her desire to be baptized. They beat her to death because she would not drink the sangoma's cure. She was sixteen. Within a few years, Christians began to visit the grave of this young martyr.
Ironically, Manche's mother was converted to Christianity in 1969.
Manche Masemola is included among twenty modern martyrs honored in Westminster Abbey.