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All systems go for SANDF SS Mendi commemoration

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The South African National Defence Force (SANDF) will mark the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the SS Mendi  on Tuesday in the English Channel in 1917.

The SS Mendi was carrying over 800 men from the South African Labour Corps to serve in France during the first World War.

A collision caused her to sink to the bottom of the English Channel.

Chief of the South African Army, Lieutenant-General Lindile Yam, explains the moments before the SS Mendi sank, as noted in records.

“When the ship was sinking, Chaplain Jehobah and everybody were screaming – he (Jehobah) called on them to calm down. Calm down my fellow countrymen. For me the, Xhosa I’m calling on you and the Zulus, the Sothos, the Tswanas and all of them, to calm down. We have come here, we have come here to die. We’ve left our assegais in our kraals, we have come here without them. And they started singing and hammering on the ship,” says Yam

Yam says men and women of the South African National Defence Force draw their strength and courage from those who lost their lives bravely on the SS Mendi.

[Source: SABC]
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