PHOTO ESSAY: Red carpet treatment for Prince Harry, Meghan Markle on first day of royal visit
The royal family - Prince Harry and Meghan Markle along with 4-month-old Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor will embark on an official visit to southern Africa from today until October 2. This will be their first official tour as a family.
The spokesperson of the British High Commission, Isabel Potgieter, said: “The Duchess of Sussex is particularly looking forward to the opportunity to learn from inspirational women in the region. As patron of the Association of Commonwealth Universities, Her Royal Highness will meet female entrepreneurs, academics and community leaders, and join discussions with southern African young women about the future of their countries.”
Potgieter said that throughout this 10-day tour, the Duke and Duchess would raise awareness of the positive partnerships with the UK, particularly in advance of the UK-Africa Investment Summit in London in 2020.
The first leg of the tour began in a Nyanga where the royals visited a Justice Desk initiative in Nyanga. Justice Desk teaches children about their rights, self-awareness and safety, and provides self-defence classes and female empowerment training to young girls in the community.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex encouraging everyone to move in closer as they gather for a picture. #RoyalTourAfrica #RoyalVisitSouthAfrica #SussexRoyalTour— Cape Argus (@TheCapeArgus) September 23, 2019
Video: @CourtneyAfrica/ @AfriNewsAgency pic.twitter.com/MskDee9F3z
Baby Archie was missing from the festivities. According to reports, the five-month-old will not attend any public events with his parents. The media have also been asked to respect the family's privacy while here in South Africa.
The NGO is supported by The Queen’s Commonwealth Trust, of which the Duke serves as president and the duchess as vice-president.
To date, the Justice Desk has directly assisted over 35 000 individuals, schools and communities. On arrival at Nyanga Methodist Church, the couple met with Jessica Dewhurst, Justice Desk founder and Queen’s Young Leader, and Theodora Luthuli, Justice Desk community leader.
The Duchess of Sussex, Meghan Markle seen interacting with the children while they're at the Justice Desk in Nyanga. #RoyalVisitSouthAfrica #RoyalTourAfrica #SussexRoyalTour— Cape Argus (@TheCapeArgus) September 23, 2019
Video: Courtney Africa/ @AfriNewsAgency pic.twitter.com/MYrsPJHg5V
The royals then toured the District Six Museum to learn about work being done to reunite members of the community forcibly relocated during the apartheid era.
Residents packed the pavements and cheered the royal couple who made an effort to greet everyone with a warm smile and a wave. The sight was one to behold as many Cape Town residents came out in their droves to show their support for the royals. This was their first visit to District Six.
They also visited was to the nearby District 6 Homecoming Centre where they were met by a small group of former residents, and had the honour of tasting traditional Cape Malay dishes.
Today, for Heritage Day, The Duke and Duchess of Sussex will travel to Monwabisi Beach to learn about the work of Waves for Change, an NGO which trains and supports local surf mentors to provide mental health services to young people. They will also see the work of The Lunchbox Fund, one of four charities to benefit from the generous donations made by the public on the occasion of the birth of their son Archie.
In the afternoon, the royals will visit the Bo-Kaap to mark Heritage Day and visit Auwal Mosque, the oldest mosque in the country, where they will meet representatives from different faith groups to hear about the strength of interfaith dialogue in Cape Town.
Afterwards, the royals will visit local residents who will host them for a cup of tea in their home.
Secretary of the Bo-Kaap Civic and Ratepayers Association Jackie Poking said: “We’re very excited to welcome them to our Bo-Kaap. We have a full day of activities planned to celebrate the 19 heritage sites and our Heritage Protection Overlay Zone. It’s the first Heritage Day that we have these two important declarations in place.”
The couple will meet Archbishop Desmond Tutu, along with his wife Leah, at their legacy foundation. Prince Harry last met Tutu in 2015, when he presented him with an honour in recognition of his services to UK communities and international peace and reconciliation.
Chairperson of the foundation Niclas Kjellström-Matseke said: “We’re very excited for their visit, mostly because the Archbishop has taken a step back from the public eye and we’re excited to show the royals work we’re doing to keep his legacy alive.”
* Additional reporting by Theolin Tembo