Meghan and Harry kicked off their South African tour visiting the Cape Town township of Nyanga – infamous as the place where the most murder cases were reported, according to the latest SAPS crime stats – to see the important work being done by The Justice Desk, a non-profit organization that educates children about their rights, safety and self-awareness.
Ahead of the trip Harry shared on the Sussex Royal Instagram that he “can’t wait to introduce my wife and son to South Africa”. Harry has never made a secret of his love for Africa, whether he is helping Aids orphans in the kingdom of Lesotho or witnessing land mine clearance projects in Angola, Harry has long spoken of his strong bond with the continent. This strong bond with the continent started when he was just 13 years old and travelled to South Africa and met the Spice Girls. Another trip was made in November 1997 with his father just two months after the death of his mother Diana. “I’d probably live in Africa,” Harry one said. “I’d like to spend all my time out there… As a job, it would probably be a safari guide.” – “This is where I feel more like myself than anywhere else in the world. I wish I could spend more time in Africa. I have this intense sense of complete relaxation and normality here.”
It was to Botswana that Harry took Meghan soon after they started dating.
Speaking during their engagement interview, Harry said: “I managed to persuade her to come and join me in Botswana. We camped out with each other under the stars… she came and joined me for five days out there, which was absolutely fantastic.”
Harry and Meghan were accompanied by thirteen staff members. Their private secretary Samantha Cohen led the team alongside Heather Wong, assistant private. Meghan and Harry also brought along the incoming private secretary Fiona Mcilwham to join them for three days so she can prepare herself for her new role.
“The role of the private secretaries is to organize the royals’ working program and act as a lead advisor and strategist in all aspects of their work life. These senior aides also accompany the royals on their engagements where they can sometimes be spotted collecting gifts from well-wishers.”
Other staff members included: Press secretary Sara Latham joined by two other press officers and one social media officer. Project coordinator Clara Madden, a program coordinator, a logistics coordinator, a personal assistant, and a director of royal travel.
The final two are Archie’s nanny and Meghan’s hairdresser, who is being paid for privately.
Meghan and Harry were asked to undertake their tour to South Africa, Angola, Botswana, and Malawi because they could connect with the young people out there in way other royals couldn’t. Rebecca English revealed how a senior official from the Foreign office told her: “They are a diverse couple; they represent modern Britain. They are also modern, forward thinking, dynamic young people. Everyone is extraordinarily excited about this visit.” adding that “Meghan and Harry will fly the flag for a ‘young, multi-cultural Britain’ when they travel to Africa.”
“Everyone is extraordinarily excited about this visit. ‘ Officials said pointing out that 62 per cent of the population in sub-Saharan Africa was under 25 and felt that Harry and Meghan were a ‘perfect fit’ for the trip.
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“The British High Commissioner to South Africa Nigel Casey told journalists that “visits like this play an important part in celebrating, sustaining, and renewing what is a dynamic, modern relationship between the U.K. and South Africa
It’s also an opportunity to shine a spotlight on some issues close to the hearts of the duke and duchess and of real importance to the South Africans.” he said. “It will also be a chance to underline the strength and continuity of our royal family’s ties to South Africa. And in particular to recall the warm and special relationship between her majesty the Queen and the late President Mandela.”
Music filled the air as Meghan and Harry were greeted by The Justice Desk staff, dancers and locals.
Primary school children in Nyanga gave an impressive display of traditional dancing
Schoolchildren dons a ‘Children’s Rights Matter – I’m not too young to be heard’ T-Shirt as they greeted Harry and Meghan with hugs
Meghan was also greeted by elders
Meghan joined them dancing:
You can watch some of the greatest moments in the video below:
Upon arrival at Nyanga Methodist Church, Meghan and Harry met Jessica Dewhurst, Justice Desk Founder and Queen’s Young Leader, and Theodora Luthuli, Justice Desk Community Leader.
Jessica took them on a walking tour of various activities taking place and got to see the work of the charity that is supported by the Queen’s Commonwealth Trust and educates children and young people about safety and their rights, giving them lessons in self-defense and female empowerment.
Then it was speech time! – Both Meghan and Harry addressed the issue of violence against women which has been the subject of recent protests across South Africa.
“The work that’s being done here is to keep women and children safer, which is needed now more than ever. This is an issue that’s been at the forefront of people’s minds here in South Africa, and of course across the globe, particularly over this past month,” Meghan said.
“Please know that my husband and I have been closely following what you’ve been experiencing here—as best we can from afar.”
She added, “You have welcomed us into this community, have been open and honest with us, both about the dangers women and children face, and about how you are addressing them. The rights of women and girls is something that is very close to my heart, and the cause I have spent the majority of my life advocating for because I know that when women are empowered, the entire community flourishes.”
For his part, Harry described the importance of “redefining masculinity,” pointing out that “no man is born to cause harm to women, this is learned behavior, and a cycle that needs to be broken.”
You can watch the speeches here:
When they were done Meghan and Harry were presented with a hoodie for Archie and his traditional name – Ntsika – was announced.
The name means pillar of strength and Jessica Dewhurst, the executive director of The Justice Desk, explained that visitors who come into township communities are typically given a traditional name.
She said: “The reason we chose that was mostly because Archie means the same thing that Ntsika does. So Archie means strength, it means bravery and the South African equivalent of that is Ntsika,”
Meghan made a stylish start to the 10-day royal tour of Africa wearing a printed dress for the first engagement. It’s by sustainable brand Mayamiko, whose designs are ethically sourced and created in Malawi. I love the flattering wrap over shape and cap sleeves on this 100% cotton dress, as well as the mixed prints.
Meghan wore her Castaner Carina wedges
She accessorized it with a pair of Jennifer Meyer’s diamond bezel and turquoise marquise stud earrings.
Finally Meghan wore a beaded bracelet that spelled out the word “justice” in honor of The Justice Desk
Later Meghan and Harry visited the District Six Museum, which honors thousands of families forcibly removed from the area during the apartheid.