Mendi Memorial in New Brighton part of SAHRA study

OCTOBER 6, 2014

The Mendi Memorial in Port Elizabeth will be part of a study commissioned by the South African Heritage Resources Agency (SAHRA).

The SAHRA is conducting research into the Mendi and “the involvement of the South African Native Labour Corps in World War 1 and is seeking to identify descendants of the men on board the vessel’s last voyage”.

The research involves collecting oral histories with the descendants and any other existing sources.

In addition, it includes conducting site visits to the various Mendi memorials “to inspect, record and map them for the SAHRA database,” as part of the centenary commemoration project.

The troopship SS Mendi sank off the Isle of Wight near St Catherine’s Point on February 21, 1917 with the loss of more than 600 men after colliding with the SS Davvo in heavy fog.

The Mendi Memorial in New Brighton was unveiled by Queen Elizabeth 11 in March 1995.

The Gamtoos Valley, Patensie and Hankey, are part of a second SAHRA study that seeks to map “the spread of early settlements in the former Cape Colony”.

SAHRA says that the study will also fo-cus on the areas around Piketberg and the Oliphants River Valley to the north of Cape Town.

The research study will also concentrate its efforts on areas around Calitzdorp as well as Oudtshoorn, also in the Western Cape.