Be quiet and calm my countrymen: the story of SS Mendi

On February 21st, 1917, SS Mendi sank south of the Isle of Wight, killing 646 of those on board, most of whom were from the South African Native Labour Corps. Their role was to build the railways, trenches, camps and roads upon which the Allied war effort depended. They were not allowed to bear arms, were kept segregated, and were not eligible for military honours.

In 1974, the resting place of the Mendi was discovered off the Isle of Wight by a local diver. Thirty years later Historic England and the South African Heritage Resources Agency funded a geophysical survey and desk-based assessment on the wreck. The Ministry of Defence designated it a Protected Place under the Protection of Military Remains Act 1986 and it is now a military maritime grave. SS Mendi has since become a focus of South African commemorations across all communities and has also awakened widespread interest in the wreck.The University of Portsmouth is delighted to host a commemoration event in partnership with the South African High Commission, to keep alive the memory of the bravery of those who lost their lives on this day over 100 years ago. The presentation panel will comprise of Her Excellency Ms Nomatemba Tambo, High Commissioner of the Republic of South Africa, Graham Scott from Wessex Archeology, Martin Woodward, and Dr Matthew Heislip from the University of Portsmouth.

Date: Wednesday 20 February 2019
Time: 6:00-7:00pm, followed by a drinks reception
Venue: University of Portsmouth, Richmond Building, Lecture Theatre 1, Portland Street, Portsmouth PO1 3DE

Admission is free, but places are limited so please reserve yours on Eventbrite

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