Following an overnight flight from London, The Duke and Duchess of Sussex and baby Archie touched down in Cape Town earlier this morning. The arrival was a private one, just like on the Australian and South Pacific tour last year, but we still got some photos and a quick glimpse of Archie wearing a hat his father wore around the same age!
After settling in and freshening up with some new outfits, Prince Harry and Meghan (minus Archie) officially kicked off their tour of Southern Africa by visiting the township of Nyanga, in their roles as President and Vice-President of The Queen’s Commonwealth Trust. There they learned more about the work of Justice Desk, a non-governmental organisation (NGo) that is supported by The Queen’s Commonwealth Trust.
Nyanga is one of the oldest black townships in Cape Town, having been established in 1946. The township is often dubbed ‘South Africa’s murder capital’ where, according to statistics, one in 206 people are killed each year. Unemployment in the community is above 50% and HIV/Aids is something the community deals with.
Harry and Meghan were greeted upon arrival by local schoolchildren, who are supported by Justice Desk, Justice Desk founder Jessica Dewhurst and community leader Theodora Luthuli. One of the children just couldn’t resist giving the Duchess a hug, which made her smile.
The couple spent time learning about the work Justice League carries out with those in the community before meeting community members who were there to catch a glimpse of the couple. They also received matching bracelets, both with the word ‘Justice’ on them.
The Duke and Duchess met with victims of gender based violence in a room away from the loudness and vibrant atmosphere outside.
Both of them gave speeches, standing on a tree stump surrounded by local youth. Meghan’s speech was particularly moving, especially when she told those around her: “While I’m here with my husband as a member of the Royal Family, I want you to know, I am here with you as a mother, a wife, as a woman, as a woman of colour and as your sister.”
The couple received gifts from Justice Desk before they left. But, before departure, there was just enough time to join local dancers for a little dance.
Following lunch and a quick change, The Duke and Duchess visited the District Six museum. The museum honours the thousands of families which were forcibly removed from the area during apartheid, after it was declared a whites-only area and their homes were bulldozed. The Royals toured the museum, listened to some jazz music and met with former residents who showed the couple the site of their homes on an interactive floor map.
Both Harry and Meghan looked visibly moved as they listened to the residents recall how they received their notices to leave their own homes.
Outside of District Six, the couple met with 81-year-old Somaya Ebrahim. When she was only nine, Somaya was among the crowds which greeted King George VI and Queen Elizabeth, with their two daughters Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret, to Cape Town in 1947.
A small walkabout took place as the couple made their way to the final engagement of day one, a community cooking activity with former District Six residents at the Homecoming Centre – only two blocks away.
The Homecoming Centre is a meeting place for former District Six residents. They went from table to table, chatting with those residents and tasting local specialities which were taken from a cookbook produced by the community – ‘District Six Huis Kombuis’. On offer were mutton and tomato stew, butter bean stew and potato pudding. The couple passed on trying Koeksister, a special doughnut, due to them being too sweet.
The visit ended with the Duchess and the women at the centre exchanging cookbooks. Meghan gave them a copy of ‘Together’, the cook book she helped to work on with the women of the Hubb Community Kitchen.
And so day one of 10 has drawn to a close, with many more engagements ahead!