Key Stage 2 were honoured to have be asked to take part in the project 'The Unremembered'. The children learnt about the tragic fate of the SS Mendi during WW1 and paid tribute to all of those who were part of the South African Labour Core and sadly lost their lives at sea.
The children were joined on the Guildhall Steps by various community choirs to sing a South African Hymn and to hold up the names of the those who lives were lost. The children showed the upmost respect, maturity and sensitivity during the memorial and we couldn't have been prouder of them. It was televised on the national and international news and featured in the local news.
Dear Mrs. Park, Mrs. Warren and all the staff and pupils at St John's Cathedral Catholic Primary
We are writing to thank you for supporting the Unremembered project as we launched in Portsmouth last week.
You were so generous with time; your enthusiasm was outstanding and the performance brilliant. Having Lizalis Idinga Lakho sung by the pupils in Xhosa is a really meaningful gesture of remembrance: thank you so much.
You will find below a summary note below which gives an overview of national press/TV and also of the next steps for the project.
We very much hope that your school will continue to take part in The Unremembered project.
Virginia and Emily
The Unremembered World War One’s Army of Workers is a community project funded by Dept for Communities and Local Government to commemorate the Labour Corps. China, Canada, Kenya the Caribbean, India and Egypt, Nigeria and South Africa, the Cooks Islands and the British Isles... and more: this is a global story.
We were honoured to launch the project at the SS Mendi centenary events in Portsmouth working with the South African High Commission team to remember more than 600 South African labourers who died when their ship sank.
Local schools and choirs responded brilliantly to the project and that was reflected in the press. Highlights include... Breakfast and BBC World broadcast Tim Muffet's report on Friday 17 Daily Mail Online featured us with a wonderful picture of Portsmouth children singing in Xhosa (image below). Portsmouth News carried the local story before and after. The Times previewed the project the weekend before (see news items below).
Dr Murrison MP the Prime Minister's Special Envoy for the Centenary also made a speech to launch the project. Commenting on the discrimination indigenous South Africans faced during WW1, Dr Murrison encouraged a "candid exploration of shared history [which] has not driven people apart but brought them together... [The South African labourers] were denied respect and recognition in their time. We honour them today."