Noticed a few more planes in the sky this morning? That is because Sunday, February 21 is Armed Forces Day in commemoration of the SS Mendi steamship which sank on 21 February 1917, one of South Africa’s worst tragedies of the First World War.

A total of 616 black South African troops died aboard the SS Mendi steamship. The vessel was on its way to France at the time.

Armed Forces Day seeks to expand public understanding of the role of the SANDF in the life of the nation. It also demonstrates, through live simulations of military action, the capability of the army, navy, air force and South African Medical Health Service.

President Cyril Ramaphosa will officiate the Armed Forces Day celebrations at the Castle of Good Hope in Cape Town at 11am on Sunday.

The ceremony will commence with a devotion. The President will then lay a wreath at the Mendi Memorial and observe a flypast by the South African Air Force before he delivers the keynote address.

Picture: Twitter / The Presidency

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