This an interesting background article to the novel ‘Dancing the Death Drill’ by the South African writer Fred Khumalo. During the first world war the African continent was heavily involved in this war that was mainly fought on the European continent.
A British steamship Mendi brought troops from South Africa to England and the intention was that these soldiers would participate in the fight in Belgium and France. On February 21, 1917 this ship crashed with another vessel and within half an hour the Mendi sank and 646 people did not survive the sinking. Five victims were washed upon the Dutch shore and were buried at a nearby cemetery. This month a ceremony was held to commemorate this fateful occasion. One of the many tragic events during this Great War.