DURBAN, The South African National Defence Force (SANDF) will be hosting its national level Armed Forces Day celebrations at the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban Tuesday with President Jacob Zuma, as Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces, delivering the main address.

The event will also mark the centenary commemoration of the sinking of SS Mendi, a British passenger steamship which was used as a troopship during World War and sank in the English channel on Feb 21, 1917, after a collision with a large cargo vessel, the Darro, with the loss of 646 lives, most of them black South African troops.

The sinking was a major loss of life for the South African military, and was one of the 20th century’s worst maritime disasters in British waters.

Those who cannot make it to Moses Mabhida stadium will not be left out. Convoys of the SANDF big guns will drive through surrounding townships of Durban.

This year’s event stretches from the Indian Ocean in Durban to the English Channel. A wreath-laying ceremony will take place at the spot where the SS Mendi sunk in 1917.

Municipal buses will ferry people to the stadium. A number of roads in the area will be closed from 8am. The event will be broadcast live on the South African Broadcasting Corporation.