“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.”
These were the final words of the late Reverend Isaac Williams Wauchope while addressing men on board the SS Medni as it went down. Today marks 101 years since the sinking of the SS Mendi in the English Channel, killing 823 South Africans en route to serve in World War 1.