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Campaign launched to gather info, give recognition to black SA soldiers in WWI

South African supply carriers outside the fort at Dschang, in German Cameroon, in 1914. Picture: Imperial War Museums/Supplied

South African supply carriers outside the fort at Dschang, in German Cameroon, in 1914. Picture: Imperial War Museums/Supplied

Published Jul 17, 2020

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Cape Town - A large-scale campaign is being launched this week, to gather details of black South Africans who served during World War I.

It hopes to gather public input to help fill in the pieces of these men’s lives, who until now have not received recognition for their sacrifice by name.

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Thousands of black South Africans enlisted for non-combatant duties, serving in various labour units, including the Cape Coloured Labour Regiment, the Cape Auxiliary Horse Transport, the Military Labour Bureau and the Military Labour Corps.

Unlike the SA Native Labour Contingent, which served in Europe and is well known for its connection to the SS Mendi, these men were recruited and served on African soil.

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission has identified more than 1600 members of the South African labour units. 

Should one of these names be a relative or someone you knew, we call for any surviving members of family or friends to come forward. Email: [email protected] or send an SMS with your name and contact details to 40720.

1. TSELITYE JIM; service number 19117; enlisted at Blaauwberg on February 14, 1917; Blaauwberg (region/town).

2. TSOANETJE JOHANNES; service number 19085; enlisted at Blaauwberg on February 14, 1917; Blaauwberg (region/town).

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3. KHANEDI JOHANNES; service number 18624; enlisted at Blaauwburg onJanuary 24, 1917; Blaauwberg (region/town).

4. KUINANA FRANK; service number 18630; enlisted at Blaauwberg on January 24, 1917; Blaauwberg (region/town).

5. NOGOS JIM; service number 17947; enlisted at Blouwberg on January 24, 1917; Blouwberg (region/town).

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6. MABSO JIM; service number 25420; enlisted at Cape Province.

7. DAMSTER JOHN; service number 9684, of Somerset West, Cape Province.

8. VAN WYK ANDRIES; service number 20343; enlisted at Cape Town on August 1, 1917; Cape Town.

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9. BOYES MAY; service number 10050; enlisted at Cape Town on May 1, 1916; Cape Town.

10. LEVY MOSS; service number 10061; enlisted at Cape Town on May 1, 1916; Cape Town.

11. MacCULLUM JOHANNES; service number 20652; enlisted at Cape Town on October 12, 1917; Cape Town.

12. ENGELBRECHT JAN; service number 20332; enlisted at Cape Town on August 2, 1917; Cape Town.

13. MAAUPI JAMES; service number 2146; enlisted at Cape Town on January 3, 1916; Cape Town.

14. TOANI JACOB; service number 2145; enlisted at Cape Town on January 3, 1916; Cape Town.

15. ALCASTER JOHANNES; service number 20344; enlisted at Cape Town on July 31, 1917; Cape Town.

16. FRANCIS JOHN; service number 20488; enlisted at Cape Town on August 28, 1917; Cape Town.

17. BENKOMO BEN; service number 2141; enlisted at Cape Town on January 3, 1916; Cape Town.

18. WARDEN PETER; service number 20828; enlisted at Cape Town on November 13, 1917; Cape Town.

19. SAMUELS CHARLES; service number 2903; of Cape Town.

20. JACOBS ISAAC; service number 5293; of Cape Town.

21. JACOBUS DAVID; of Chichester Road, Claremont; Cape Town.

22. MOLALE DAVID; (M/985); of Maitland; Cape Town.

23. GARRETT ISAAC; service number 1059; son of Eva Garrett, of Salt River, Cape Province.

24. DU PLESSIS WILLIAM; service number 4040; son of Phillip and Lena du Plessis, of Kensington Estate, Maitland; Cape Town.

25. NIEUWELD KLAAS; service number 176, son of Piet Nieuweld, of Cape Colony, Cape Town.

26. IRISH CORNELIUS; service number 24898; of Cape Town.

27. MABI JAN; service number 20517; enlisted at Langeburg on September 10, 1917; Langeburg.

28. GUDA CHARLIE; service number 10457; enlisted at Maitland on May 1, 1916; Maitland.

29. SIKONDELE STEPHEN; service number 29212; of Ndabeni Township; Ndabeni.

30. FELIX ISAAC; service number 185; enlisted at Pietermaritzburg, November 27, 1915; Plumstead.

31. TYWAKODI THOMAS; service number 4037; son of Mr W Tywakadi, of Inland, Somerset West; Somerset West. 

Cape Argus

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