Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa and Arts and Culture Minister Nathi Mthethwa will attend the commemoration of the battle of Delville Wood in France, the presidency said on Friday.
“This year's commemoration service is of particular significance, taking place against the background of the planned re-interment of the 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 in France,” Ramaphosa's spokesman Ronnie Mamoepa said in a statement.
The two would be accompanied by Ramaphosa's wife, Tshepo Motsepe, and Deputy International Relations Minister Nomaindia Mfeketo.
Mamoepa said Beleza's remains would be exhumed from the civilian cemetery of Seine-Maritime near Le Havre and reburied at Delville Wood Memorial as part of honouring all South Africans who were involved in the battle.
“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 buried at the Delville Wood Memorial,” he said.
The reburial of Beleza will go a long way towards the restoration of the dignity of black South Africans who participated in the war.
After the visit in France, Ramaphosa would proceed to Sri Lanka for an official visit from July 7 to 8, said Mamoepa. - Sapa