The African tour comes at a perfect moment for Harry and Meghan to set the agenda after a torrid six months of headlines. Picture: Getty Images
The African tour comes at a perfect moment for Harry and Meghan to set the agenda after a torrid six months of headlines. Picture: Getty Images

Meghan, Harry get into groove in Africa

HARRY and Meghan may have only been in Africa for a few hours, but the royal couple soon found themselves on a makeshift dancefloor.

Harry and Meghan were visiting a township near Cape Town, their first stop on a 10-day African tour, where they were greeted by crowds and a local dance company.

The couple were invited to join in and Harry had Meghan in hysterics after he displayed some serious "dad dancing".

Dancers performed for Harry and Meghan during their visit to a Justice Desk initiative in Nyanga township in Cape Town. Picture: Getty Images
Dancers performed for Harry and Meghan during their visit to a Justice Desk initiative in Nyanga township in Cape Town. Picture: Getty Images

The royal couple were given a warm welcome from adoring fans as they kicked off their African tour.

Meghan was embraced by a shy schoolboy while Prince Harry danced with excited children at Justice Desk, a charity that works to improve the lives of people living in Nyanga, a Cape Town suburb known as the city's "murder capital".

Harry and Meghan showed off some impressive moves in Cape Town. Picture: Getty Images
Harry and Meghan showed off some impressive moves in Cape Town. Picture: Getty Images

Amid security fears, Archie stayed behind at their residence with his nanny.

The royal couple appeared thrilled to be in South Africa and Harry spoke about how "incredibly important" it was for the two to begin their tour in Cape Town.

Harry’s dad dancing had Meghan in hysterics. Picture: Getty Images
Harry’s dad dancing had Meghan in hysterics. Picture: Getty Images

The couple stood on a tree stump to address crowds of local women and girls supported by Justice Desk, which also supports the development of the area's children and fights against gender-based violence.

"This is definitely the first time I have spoken on top of a stump," Harry laughed, before adding, "it was incredibly important for my wife and I to begin our trip to South Africa here.

"Meghan and I are truly inspired by your resilience."

The royal couple get in the groove in Cape Town. Picture: Getty Images
The royal couple get in the groove in Cape Town. Picture: Getty Images

Harry, who stopped midway during his speech to pick up a child's flag, said he wanted to help with the Justice Desk's fight against violence against women.

"Now it's about redefining masculinity, it's about creating your own footprints for your children to follow in so that you can make a positive change for the future," he said.

Meghan was a big hit in Cape Town. Picture: Getty Images
Meghan was a big hit in Cape Town. Picture: Getty Images

"To me the real testament to your strength is what's up here and what's in here. Your strength is in your spirit.

"We know that you haven't been heard before, but change is coming."

Meghan praised the charity for shining a light on important issues.

 

Harry and Meghan got their African tour off to a happy start. Picture: Getty Images
Harry and Meghan got their African tour off to a happy start. Picture: Getty Images

"I know it isn't easy and it must feel insurmountable at times.

"Your brothers and sisters here in your community need you to continue to shine your light brightly, it is inspiring, it is energising and it is extraordinary.

"You must know that what you are doing not only matters, it is vital."

The royals were greeted by children at the Cape Town event. Picture: Chris Jackson/Getty Images
The royals were greeted by children at the Cape Town event. Picture: Chris Jackson/Getty Images

Meghan added: "The work that is being done here is to keep women and children safer which is needed now more than ever.

"You have been open an honest with us about the dangers that women face and what you are doing to address them

"The rights of women and girls is something that is very close to my heart."

Meghan said she was in South Africa representing the royal family, but added that the trip was also personal to her.

Meghan and Harry visit a Justice Desk initiative in Nyanga township, during their royal tour of South Africa. Picture: Getty Images
Meghan and Harry visit a Justice Desk initiative in Nyanga township, during their royal tour of South Africa. Picture: Getty Images

"For me, I am here with you as a mother, as a wife, as a woman, as a woman of colour, and as your sister."

Children danced and sang as the royals arrived, with a traditional band on xylophones and djembe drums providing the soundtrack to the beginning of this Hollywood-style royal tour of Africa.

Meghan, wearing a black and white patterned dress, chatted to young children and was embraced in warm hugs by locals who were grateful the royals were highlighting the plight of women in Africa.

 

Harry, wearing dark trousers and a long-sleeved white shirt, knelt down to chat with children who were showing him their work.

Ever the entertainer, Harry even broke into a dance with one youngster.

Visiting the Mbokodo Girls' Empowerment program, the royal couple saw how the girls learn self-defence and how they were taught about their rights.

 

The classes also teach young girls to sing about their rights to the popular Baby Shark tune, which they appeared to enjoy.

The Mbokodo program, run by the Justice Desk under the guidance of inspirational leader Jessica Dewhurst, has helped 70,000 girls since it was created in 2013.

 

Meghan meets a young fan. Picture: Getty Images
Meghan meets a young fan. Picture: Getty Images

 

Ms Dewhurst, who has received an award from the Queen for her work, greeted Harry and Meghan, wiping away tears.

Meghan was expected to meet some of the young women in private and hear about their concerns.

The visit comes amid rising cases of violence against girls in South Africa, where more than 40,000 cases of rape are reported each year.

Susan Viljoen, 35, of Cape Town, said she was stunned at the royal visit to the shanty town.

"It was awesome because it breaks down the barriers of Nyanga being a place that you don't visit," she said.

As always, Harry was a hit with the kids. Picture: Chris Jackson/Getty Images
As always, Harry was a hit with the kids. Picture: Chris Jackson/Getty Images

"They are just shining some light on what the people are doing over here. Hopefully the not-for-profits here are only going to get more funds to continue the work they are doing."

Carlyn Collison, 39, came along to see Harry and Meghan in Cape Town early on Tuesday Australian time.

 

meghan and Harry made a splash on their first day in South Africa. Picture: Getty Images
meghan and Harry made a splash on their first day in South Africa. Picture: Getty Images

"I really liked Meghan when her humanitarian work was exposed to the rest of us," she said.

The royal couple were also presented with a gift at their first engagement, an African name for Archie.

"We have a little gift, it's kind of for you but not really for you," Ms Dewhurst said.

"When your beautiful boy was born you gave him the name Archie, the name Archie means bravery and strength.

"To welcome Archie, your family at The Justice Desk has given him the traditional South African name Ntsika.

"This name of South African origin means pillar of strength.

"May you always be a pillar of strength for those who need you."

 

Meghan and Harry visited the District 6 Museum, a former inner-city residential area in Cape Town, where freed slaves lived. Picture: Getty Images
Meghan and Harry visited the District 6 Museum, a former inner-city residential area in Cape Town, where freed slaves lived. Picture: Getty Images

'TRYING TO HEAL'

Later, the royal couple visited the District Six Museum in Cape Town, which was dedicated to 60,000 people of various races who were forced to move under the apartheid regime in the 1960s.

Harry and Meghan were told how Cape Town residents were "trying to heal" after the damaging era of apartheid in South Africa.

The couple also walked the streets between the museum and the District Six Homecoming Centre, with crowds shouting their names as they stopped to meet wellwishers.

Some were also yelling to see their baby, Archie, who has joined the couple on the tour but has not been listed for any official engagements.

 

Bonita Bennett, director of the District Six Museum, hosted Harry and Meghan at both venues, where they were told the stories of the dispossessed through food and music.

"It seemed to be emotional and they seemed to connect very much with the people centredness of the approach that we have," Ms Bennett said.

"It was a very human story and I think they related very much to that.

"(Meghan) seemed a bit overwhelmed at times. It's quite a lot."

Ms Bennett said the museum was designed to show how Cape Town residents were "trying to heal from the past and how we're trying to move forward."

 

Prince Harry and Meghan arrive at the A-list wedding of Misha Nonoo and Michael Hess in Rome. Picture: Claudio Peri/ANSA via AP
Prince Harry and Meghan arrive at the A-list wedding of Misha Nonoo and Michael Hess in Rome. Picture: Claudio Peri/ANSA via AP

The Duke and Duchess were also shown the food that was eaten in the District Six area before the residents were forced out.

They were given a tomato stew and a potato pudding, which Ms Bennett said was the couple's highlight.

Some groups had been concerned about the Duke and Duchess' visit because of their links to colonialism.

However, Ms Bennett said the visit was for the royal family to learn about the history, not a forum to discuss restitution.

Harry, Meghan and baby Archie arrive in South Africa. Picture: Supplied
Harry, Meghan and baby Archie arrive in South Africa. Picture: Supplied

ON THE ROAD AGAIN

Earlier, the royals were pictured at the airport with baby Archie after landing in Cape Town for their first official tour as a family of three.

The Duke of Sussex smiled as they were greeted by airport staff while adoring mother Meghan carried Archie, who was wearing a woollen hat for extra warmth, in her arms.

The family arrived on a British Airways flight with Archie's nanny, who will look after the young royal while his parents carry out their royal duties.

The royal couple arrived on a British Airways flight for the start of their four-country, 10-day tour after previous criticism of their private jet travel.

Harry and Meghan had spent the weekend in Italy at the society wedding of their friend Misha Nonoo to oil tycoon Michael Hess.

The family arrives in Cape Town. Picture: Supplied
The family arrives in Cape Town. Picture: Supplied

Donald Trump's daughter Ivanka, and pop star Katy Perry and her fiance Orlando Bloom were also guests at the Rome wedding.

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The African tour comes at a perfect moment for Harry and Meghan to set the agenda after a torrid six months of headlines, mainly over arguments about what parts of their lives should remain private.

This week's tour is the couple's second official trip after a successful tour to Australia, New Zealand, Fiji and Tonga last year (2018).

Baby Archie will join his parents on the African tour. Picture: Getty
Baby Archie will join his parents on the African tour. Picture: Getty

This tour will also include stops in Malawi, Botswana and Angola for Harry while Meghan will remain in South Africa for her own engagements, some of which were still to be announced.

The continent is a special place for the couple.

Harry, who refers to Africa as his "second home", took Meghan to Botswana for a trip just three weeks after they began dating in 2016.

"I managed to persuade her to come and join me in Botswana," he told the BBC.

"We camped out with each other under the stars … she came and joined me for five days out there, which was absolutely fantastic."

He later sourced her engagement ring from the African country.

 

stephen.drill@news.co.uk