African Kinship series – SS Mendi (film)

The film explores the true story tragedy of the SS Mendi, which was carrying South African Labour Corp troops to join the British WW1 war effort on the front lines in France in 1917. After leaving South Africa the boat reached the edge of the Isle of Wight, and was hit by an empty meat container ship called the SS Darro, and was sunk, killing 646 of the men, 609 of them were Black South Africans. The wreckage of the SS Mendi is still off the coast of the Isle of Wight to this day, along with the remains of the men that were never recovered. Using the SS Mendi tragedy as the context, the film explores different forms of remembrance in an anthropological style, building on the aesthetic of the Elmina film, (as described above), with the dispassionate computerised voice. The forms of remembrance explored are; pilgrimage, judicial process and law, empathy, creative expression, and civic memorial.