Queen Manthatisi Reborn as a Heroine-Class Submarine

June 15, 2004

A diesel-electric submarine for the South African (SA) Navy was launched at the shipyard for the company Howarldtswerke-Deutsche Werft in Kiel, Germany.  Ruth Segomotsi Mompati, executive mayor of Naledi Local Municipality in South Africa’s North West Province and a leading veteran of the longtime struggle against apartheid in her homeland, served as the godmother of the new submarine during the ceremony.

Designated S101, the submarine was the first of the SA Navy’s Heroine-class submarines. These German-built vessels replaced the French-built Dapné-class submarines, which had become part of the SA Navy fleet starting in the early 1970s and were all decommissioned in 2003. S101 was commissioned into the SA Navy in November 2005 and arrived at her homeport of Simon’s Town, South Africa, just a little over five months later.

As the submarine’s godmother, Mompati was on hand for this arrival and it was she who used the occasion to publicly announce the official name of the new vessel. Appropriately enough, it had been decided that each of the Heroine-class submarines would be named after significant women in South African history. Mompati announced that S101 would be called SAS Manthatisi in memory of the formidable 19th-century warrior Queen Manthatisi, who led the Batlôkwa tribe into battle against its enemies.

In keeping with this naming protocol for Heroine-class submarines, S102 was named SAS Charlotte Maxeke after a prominent 20th-century social worker and political activist who battled racism; and S103 was called SAS Queen Modjadji to honor the woman who led the Balobedu tribe from 1800 to 1854.

About a year-and-a-half after arriving in South Africa, SAS Manthatisi took part in an international military effort known as Exercise Amazolo. This was the first multi-navy exercise involving vessels from both the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the SA Navy. During these maneuvers, SAS Manthatisi distinguished herself when she managed to get through an anti-submarine screen of seven ships.

For more information on SAS Manthatisi and the South African Navy’s other Heroine-class submarines, please check out http://www.defenceweb.co.za/index2.php?option=com_content&do_pdf=1&id=460.

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