31 October 2014

WORKSHOP & THEATRE INVITATION - Drilling the death drill

"Be quiet and calm, my countrymen. What is happening now is what you came to do...you are going to die, but that is what you came to do. Brothers, we are drilling the death drill. I, a Xhosa, say you are my brothers... Swazis, Pondos, Basotho...so let us die like brothers. We are the sons of Africa. Raise your war-cries, brothers, for though they made us leave our assegais in the kraal, our voices are left with our bodies."

- Isaac Wauchope, chaplain on the SS Mendi

The South African History Archive (SAHA) would like to invite educators to participate in a workshop on the historic sinking of the troopship SS Mendi during the First World War, one of South Africa's worst marine tragedies in which more than 600 troops, many from the last contingent of the South African Native Labour Corps sent to support the war effort in Europe, perished in the English Channel in 1917.

The late Madi Phala’s memorial, conjuring the prow of a sinking ship and the floating hats and helmets of drowned soldiers, honours the troops of the SA Native Labour Corps who died when the SS Mendi sank during in World War I Picture: Garth Stead © Sunday Times

This story of the SS Mendi will be used as a starting point to explore the complexities of teaching (about) war in the classroom as well as to consider the use of oral testimony as primary sources in reconstructing histories of war. This workshop will take place as follows:

WHERE: Women's Jail at Constitution Hill
WHEN: Saturday 22 November 2014, 08h30 for 09h00 until 13h00.

There is no cost for participating in this workshop for the educators but spaces are limited. If you would like to RSVP to participate in this event, please contact SAHA on 011 7182560 or info@saha.org.za. Please include your Name, Surname, Email address, Organisation and Cell phone number.



Schools are also eligible for discounted tickets (priced at just R15 per person for groups of 10 or more), courtesy of the British Council, to take learners to see "Ukutshona ko Mendi... Did We Dance?"

Flyer for ""Ukutshona ko Mendi... Did We Dance?" play at Soweto Theatre


100 years of war


Reflections on 100 years of war, genocide and mass violence

This workshop, along with the staging of Ukutshona ko Mendi... Did We Dance (The Sinking of the Mendi), forms part of a collaborative series of lectures, films and panel discussions to commemorate the centenary of the beginning of the First World War; the 75th anniversary of the start of the Second World War and the 20th commemoration of the 1994 genocide in Rwanda that targeted the Tutsi minority.

> Learn more about the series of events