Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa and Arts and Culture Minister Nathi Mthethwa are in Paris to attend the 98th anniversary of the battle of Delville Wood which occurred during World War 1.
“This year’s commemoration service is of particular significance taking place against the background of the planned re-interment of the mortal remains of Private Myengwa Beleza, one of the first South Africans and a member of the African Native Labour Corps to perish during World War 1,” the Presidency said on Friday.
Beleza’s remains will be exhumed from the civilian cemetery of Seine-Maritime near Le Havre for reburial at Delville Wood Memorial to honour all South Africans, black and white, who contributed to the demise of Nazism.
“Due to segregation at the time, black South Africans who had perished during the war were buried separately in different civilian cemeteries across France, while their white counterparts were interred at the Delville Wood Memorial,” spokesperson Ronnie Mamoepa said.
Mamoepa says the re-interment of Private Beleza at Delville Memorial is part of efforts to honour all those South Africans, black and white, who contributed to efforts aimed at pushing back the frontiers of fascism. “It is our conviction that this re-interment will go a long way and contribute towards restoration of dignity, particularly of those black South Africans, who participated in the war and thus help create peace in the world. ”
Deputy President Ramaphosa is also accompanied by his spouse Tshepo Motsepe and Deputy Minister Nomaindia Mfeketo.
Following the visit to France, Deputy President Ramaphosa will lead a South African delegation to Sri Lanka.
Source : SAnews.gov.za