Armed Forces Day is held annually on February 21 in commemoration of the sinking of the SS Mendi steamship in 1917, one of South African’s worst tragedies during the First World War which took place between 1914 to 1918. A total of 616 black South African troops died when the SS Mendi steamship sank on its way to France.

According to the Presidency, Armed Forces Day seeks to expand public understanding of the role of the SANDF in the life of the nation and to demonstrate through live simulations of military action the capability of the army, navy, air force and South African Medical Health Service.

Below is an infographic higlighting the event: