The annual SS Mendi memorial service and wreath laying ceremony will be held this Sunday at the Gamothakga recreation resort in Atteridgeville, Pretoria.
The ceremony is the main event on the SA National Defence Force’s (SANDF) Remembrance Sunday to honour all South Africans who have made “the ultimate sacrifice in wars and conflicts, including the struggle for democracy,” Brigadier General Xolani Mabanga said.
The day has always been in honour of the 616 South Africans who died when the SS Mendi collided with another ship in the English Channel, en route to France, in February 1917.
The SA Legion will have a strong presence at the Atteridgeville ceremony as well as one at Avalon in Soweto.
The Mendi is today honoured as one of the SA Navy’s four Valour Class frigates and the original Mendi has been further honoured with its name going to South Africa’s highest award for courage – the Order of Mendi. It is bestowed by the President, who is also Commander-in-Chief of the SANDF, on South Africans who have performed extraordinary acts of bravery.
The Order can be awarded in gold, silver or bronze categories. It replaced the Wolraad Woltemade award.