Gateways to the First World War Event: Remembering the SS Mendi Disaster

1466022_1426996634232866_7427921685714252707_nProfessor Albert Grundlingh: Mutating memories & the making of a wartime myth. Remembering the SS Mendi Disaster, 1917-2007

This year, the Gateways to the First World War centre is delighted to welcome Professor Albert Grundlingh (Stellenbosch University, South Africa) as a visiting researcher. At events at the University of Kent and the University of Brighton Professor Grundlingh will explore the ways in which the sinking of the SS Mendi during the First World War has been remembered.

The SS Mendi, carrying the last detachment of the South African Native Labour Contingent to work as non-combatants in France during the First World War, sank just off the Isle of Wight on 21 February 1917. The death toll was high: of the 882 men on board 615 died and 267 were saved. The grim details are easily verifiable; the subsequent after-life of the incident is more complex. This lecture addresses the way in which the Mendi disaster has been recalled over decades and contextualised in terms of public memory at different historical junctures, and how a heroic narrative was constructed with certain elements more pertinently being foregrounded recently to serve a useful purpose in the present.

Talks will be held on

Wednesday 3rd February 2016, 5pm M2 Boardroom, University of Brighton. Hosted with the Centre for Research in Memory, Narrative and Histories. Further information and booking link available here.

Thursday 4th February 2016, 6pm Grimond Lecture Theatre 1, University of Kent. Hosted with the School of History. Further information and booking link available here.

Both events are free and open to all but booking is required.

Please contact gateways@kent.ac.uk with any enquiries.

Albert Grundlingh Flyer

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