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News > OD Office News > OD Secretary Takes on England for Rhinos and Mendi Victims

OD Secretary Takes on England for Rhinos and Mendi Victims

OD Secretary, WP van Zyl (1997K) has embarked on the journey of a lifetime, to raise funds for saving rhinos, and awareness for those who died on the SS Mendi. 
WP is currently cycling the length of England, where after he plans to run in the London Marathon in the Save the Rhino Campaign. He says the inspiration for his expedition is the harrowing tale of those who died on the SS Mendi in 1917. One of those who died on the ship, Wauchope Dyobha was a strong believer in education and WP wants to honour their valiant deaths which did not receive much attention at the time. 
He's also sporting cricket longs while he cycles, in order to celebrate the upcomming launch of the Russell Adams Scholarship fund.
He will be joined by his brother, Lourense (2000K) who will also run the marathon. 

If you'd like to support our Secretary, please click here

Well done, WP!


"On January 16, 1917 the Mendi troopship sailed from Cape Town en route to La Havre in France carrying the last contingent of the SANLC comprising 805 black private, 5 white officers and 17 non-commissioned officers as well as 33 crewmembers.

On the morning of 21 February 1917, another ship, the SS Darro (10 0000 tons) travelling at full speed and emitting no warning signals, rammed the SS Mendi (4 230 tons), which sank in 20 minutes. No steps were taken by the SS Darro to lower boats or rescue the survivors. She stood off and floated nearby while lifeboats from the SS Mendi's escorting destroyer, HMS Brisk, rowed among the survivors, trying to rescue them.

There are many stories of bravery about the men's bravery as the ship went down. One of them is that of the Reverend Isaac Wauchope Dyobha, who cried words of encouragement to the dying men." To read more about this tragedy please click here

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