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New memorial commissioned for South African WW1 servicemen

A new memorial honouring black South Africans who gave their lives in the First World War has been commissioned by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.

The site for the new monument in the Cape Town Company’s Garden.

The new WW1 memorial will be homed in the Cape Town Company’s Garden acknowledging the important role the servicemen played and memorialising their names at the heart of the Cape Town community. It will be funded and maintained in perpetuity by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.

An architectural design competition for the new memorial is now open to all Professional Architects and Professional Architectural Technologists who are registered with the South African Council for the Architectural Profession (SACAP). Registration will close on the 2nd of June 2022 with the winning design announced on the 31st of August 2022.

The launch of the architectural design competition.

Launch guests with Paul Kotze - Architect & Competition Administrator (centre) and Tiaan Meyer CWGC project advisor (second from right).

Liz Woodfield, CWGC’s Director of External Relations said, “Today, we take a tangible step in honouring 1,600 South Africans who served in the military labour units and for far too long, have been overlooked. They were casualties, not just because of the conflict of the First World War, but of indifference to their service, suffering, and sacrifice."

The CWGC, working with volunteer researchers including the In From the Cold Project identified more than 1,600 members of South African labour units who will be named on the new memorial. Collectively, these labour units made an essential contribution to the war effort.

The new war memorial will be a permanent reminder of the collective sacrifice of these men. Its design will also provide space for additional names as these come to light through ongoing research and CWGC also hopes to trace the families of these men through the process of developing the memorial.

For more information on the architectural design competition please use this link to the dedicated webpage:


Tags Non-Commemoration Report Cape Town Memorial competition