The South African High Commission, led by Deputy High Commissioner Charmaine Fredericks, participated in the SS Mendi 105th Anniversary in Portsmouth on 21 February 2022.
The sinking of the SS Mendi was caused by the reckless action of the captain of the SS Darro. It remains the greatest ever wartime disaster suffered by South Africa. During the First World War, there was a shortage of labourers, which, despite the draft, caused delays in moving supplies from the rear to the front lines. SS Mendi was transporting 823 men and officers of the fifth Battalion of the Native Labour Corps from Cape Town to Le Havre, via Lagos and Plymouth.
On 21 February 1917, a large cargo steamship, Darro, collided with the SS Mendi in the English Channel south of the Isle of Wight. Mendi sank killing 646 people, most of whom were black South African troops.
This tragedy is commemorated every year on 21 February.
Featuring: HE Nomatemba Tambo, The Rt Hon the Lord David Steel of Aikwood, Richard Stone, The Rt Hon the Lord Paul & Lady Janet Boateng, Teddy Coleman, John Battersby, Lela Kogbara, Brian Filling, Zeinab Badawi, Tony Dykes, The Rt Hon the Lord Peter Hain, Anne Page & Adam Glasser. Archive performances from: Tessa Uys, Sir Antony Sher, Dame Janet Suzman, Pumeza Matshikiza & Nicola Emmanuelle.
A Memorial Service for Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu and Ambassador Lindiwe Mabuza will be held at St Martin-in-the-Fields (Trafalgar Square, London WC2N 4JH) on Monday 21 February, 2.00 pm.
The service, which is being organised with the South African High Commission, will include tributes to the Archbishop Emeritus and the Ambassador from those who knew them, an Address from Revd Dr Sam Wells, Vicar of St Martin-in-the-Fields, personal memories from Clive Conway, Chair of Tutu Foundation UK, Professor Chris Mullard, Honorary Consul, and music from St Martin’s Voices. Refreshments at South Africa House will follow the service.
President Cyril Ramaphosa is deeply saddened by the news of the passing of Isilo Samabandla, King Goodwill Zwelithini KaBhekuzulu.
His Majesty passed away in hospital on the 12th of March 2021.
“This sad news come at a time when we had all been hopeful that His Majesty was recovering well in hospital where he had been over the past few weeks,” the President said.
The President has offered his sympathies and prayers to the Royal Family, to the Zulu nation, and to the people of KwaZulu-Natal and beyond – for whom the Ingonyama was an important symbol of history, culture and heritage.
“His Majesty will be remembered as a much-loved, visionary monarch who made an important contribution to cultural identity, national unity and economic development in KwaZulu-Natal and through this, to the development of our country as a whole.”
Media enquiries: Tyrone Seale,
Acting Spokesperson to the President
Issued by: The Presidency
Further information may also be found here.