SS Mendi: A story worth telling
Sandile Ntuli Johannesburg
What a pleasure it was to listen to Fred Khumalo speak about his new book, Dancing the Death Drill (a work of historical fiction that tells the story of the SS Mendi), at the University of Johannesburg on Friday. The SS Mendi was a ship that sank in the English Channel on February 21 1917, claiming the lives of 607 black South African men.
The men who perished were to be labourers during World War 1 in aid of the mother country, Great Britain.
The story of the Mendi is an important one that school children, in particular, should know about.
It’s notable that the department of education has introduced new literature titles for home languages and first additional languages this year. It should continue to reduce the works of authors from the West as we have many South African and African authors who tell our own stories.
Instead of pupils studying William Shakespeare’s Hamlet and Othello, they should be learning plays by John Kani and Mbongeni Ngema, among others. Just saying.