Meghan and Harry bid farewell to South Africa after meeting Mandela’s widow

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex were back together again in Johannesburg today, carrying out a couple of joint engagements on the last day of their 10-day tour of Southern Africa. It’s also been less then 24 hours since they announced they were suing the Mail on Sunday group, so you can safely say that all eyes were firmly on them.

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For their first engagement of the day, the couple were at the township of Tembisa to visit Youth Employment Services (YES) and learn more about the critical unemployment levels among the youth in South Africa. YES is an organisation which is seeking out ways, through innovation and technological best practice, to create one million jobs for the youth of South Africa.

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Upon arrival, Prince Harry and Meghan were brought inside of the YES hub, which is actually a collection of shipping containers and buildings. While inside, they were given a briefing about the initiative and toured the many different areas, speaking with young people involved about their experiences.

Speaking to those young people, Harry said: “Next year we launch our new foundation and it’s moments like today and meeting all of you that inspire us.”

Meghan took a keen interest in Blossom Care Solutions, which produces around 80,000 affordable and eco friendly sanitary towels a month, excitedly showing her husband the manufacturing process before telling the ladies: “I love it. I can’t wait to see what’s going on inside.”

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Following their tour, the Duke and Duchess walked back out into the October sun and over to a stage that had been set up for them. In front of a crowd of gathered young people, both of them gave speeches. In his speech, after announcing UKAid are going to give £8million to help tackle youth unemployment, Harry reflected on his first visit to Africa months after his mother’s death.

“Ever since I came to this country as a young boy, trying to cope with something I could never possibly describe, Africa has held me in an embrace that I will never forget and feel incredibly fortunate for that,” he said, and looked to the future as he spoke about Archie, saying; “And as I raise my own son, I’m going to make sure that what I’ve learnt here – the value of the natural world, the value of community and friendship – is something that I can pass on to him.”

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Prince Harry and Meghan, The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, during a visit to a township near Johannesburg, South Africa, on the final day of their Royal Tour. Picture by Stephen Lock / i-Images

Meghan’s speech championed the young people they had met during their visit to the organisation, especially the women. She told those gathered, “And I think for you women, I’m so proud of you and the business you’re creating, and also being able to now control your own purse strings, because when you have that level of independence, my goodness you can do anything.”

She also thanked them all for having herself and her husband today, and the past 10 days; “So, thank you for giving us the opportunity to meet with all of you, to be able to feel inspired and for welcoming us so warmly, strongly, beautifully to your country, we’ve loved it.”

For their next engagement – a meeting with Nelson Mandela’s widow Graça Machel – the royal couple headed to the British High Commissioner’s residence in Johannesburg. In a diplomatic fashion move, Meghan chose to rewear the outfit she wore to the Nelson Mandela exhibition in London in July 2018.

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Harry and Mrs Machel are no strangers: the pair last met during Harry’s tour of South Africa in 2015. This was, however, the first time that Meghan had met Mrs Machel. Upon meeting Meghan, Graca was heard saying; “I’m sure we’re going to be working together in the future. I can feel the vibe.”

The couple sat down within the residence with Machel, where they spoke about various things.

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The Duke and Duchess of Sussex ventured out into the gardens of the residence following the meeting, where a creative industries and business reception was being held. More than 300 guests were present at the event which celebrated South Africa and the UK’s  business investment relationship and also looked forward to the Africa Investment Summit which will be held in the UK next year.

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As they did earlier, both gave speeches at this event. Harry went first, telling those present: “Although I have spent a great deal of time here over the years, this visit, in particular, has filled us with hope and optimism.”

Prince Harry and Meghan at a business reception at the British High Commissioner’s Residence in Johannesburg. Picture by Stephen Lock / i-Images

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In a moving speech, The Duchess spoke about the end of the ten day tour, saying; “Over the past ten days our family has had emotional moments, we’ve poignant moments, we’ve had spiritual moments; we’ve met inspirational leaders in every walk of life, and we’ve been treated to incredible food, music, and dancing, but above all, we have been able to meet the people that are the rocks behind the sort of work that really means a so much to us. It has been affirming to learn that we’re not alone in the things that we believe in, and the principles we hold so dear.”

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The day, and the tour, came to an end with a courtesy call on President Cyril Rhamaphosa and First Lady Dr Tshepo Motsepe in Pretoria. The couples exchanged gifts, with Meghan and Harry giving the President and First Lady a copy of the ‘Together’ cookbook and a black and white photo of ankole cattle taken by David Yarrow, the President is rather fond of cattle and breeds them. The President and First Lady gifted The Duke and Duchess a copy of the book the President wrote on cattle.

And so a busy tour has come to an end, with many fantastic memories for the people of Southern Africa and the Sussex family.

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