The Legacies

Joyce Kalaute, granddaughter of Reverend Isaac Dyobha addressing the commemoration at the Mendi Memorial, March 2006: Courtesy of South African National Defence ForceJoyce Kalaute, granddaughter of Reverend Isaac Dyobha addressing the commemoration at the Mendi Memorial, March 2006: Courtesy of South African National Defence ForceRear Admiral Magalefa of the South African Navy laying a wreath at the Mendi Memorial in Soweto, March 2006.: Courtesy of South African National Defence ForceRear Admiral Magalefa of the South African Navy laying a wreath at the Mendi Memorial in Soweto, March 2006.: Courtesy of South African National Defence ForceThe story of the Mendi received little mention in histories of the War written in its aftermath but the memory of the men and the injustice dealt to them after their death was not forgotten. Told by word of mouth rather than the written word, the story became an icon of unity and a symbol of injustice in the struggle against apartheid.
 
Since the ending of apartheid, the loss of the Mendi has become part of official histories and marked in many ways, including remembrance ceremonies and the making of memorials. The Mendi Memorial in Heroes Acre at the Avalon Cemetery in Soweto was unveiled by President Nelson Mandela and her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II in 1995. Meanwhile the Mendi itself lay far away, all but lost to history.
 
In Britain the names of all those who died that night are inscribed, along with those of other service personnel who have no grave but the sea, on the Hollybrook Memorial in Southampton. But it was not until 1974 that the wreck of the Mendi was identified correctly.