Memorial service for the soldiers who died on the SS Mendi on 21 February 1917 [fr]
On Sunday 22 February, the Consul attended a memorial service for the South African soldiers who were shipwrecked during the First World War.
On Sunday 22 February, Xavier d’Argoeuves, French Consul in Cape Town, attended a memorial service for the South African soldiers who died during the shipwreck of the SS Mendi on 21 February 1917 as their ship was headed to Le Havre to support the war effort.
An estimated 18,000 South African soldiers died during the First World War, of which an overwhelming majority were blacks who were not recognized as combatants, but were used instead to dig trenches or undertake other forms of manual labor. They were forbidden by the government from bearing arms, for fear of a revolt against civilian or military authorities.
This service followed the rededication of the memorial monument on 19 October 2014.