Africa

Harry and Meghan make pitch for mental health on S.African tour

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Prince Harry and his wife Meghan on Tuesday gave a royal boost to South African surfers harnessing the power of the waves to promote mental health in poor communities.

Help through sport — an issue famously close to the prince’s heart — marked the second day of their tour of southern Africa, the first official trip by the Duke and Duchess of Sussex since becoming parents to baby Archie in May.

Buffeted by high winds, the couple chatted to members of an NGO called Waves for Change, which uses surfing to help stressed youngsters in Cape Town’s slums find positive thinking and calm.

“Nelson Mandela once said that sport has the power to change the world,” said Thembaletu Mani, 24, one of the mentors who greeted the couple at Monwabisi Beach.

“So that’s what we do here, conquer the challenges through sport.”

Eighty-year-old Wendy Perks and her daughters Jenny and Carol were among those who braved the winds to await the British royals.

Wearing masks of the face of Harry’s grandmother, Queen Elizabeth II, each had a camping chair adorned with a string of small British flags.

“We are the biggest royal fans in the world. We’ve been to Kate and William’s wedding, we’ve been to Meghan and Harry’s wedding, the Queen’s jubilee and the Queen’s 90th birthday,” Jenny Perks told AFP.

“We grew up with Princess Diana, so we just love her boys. She was the people’s princess. We love all the pomp and ceremony. Proudly royal and proudly British, and South African.”

She added: “We’re guessing Meghan will have a pony tail and jeans because it’s far too windy for a dress.”

That prediction turned out to be spot-on. The duchess emerged from a luxury 4×4 clad in black trousers and a denim jacket with a white blouse, while Harry wore dark trousers and a green shirt.

The couple also saw the work of The Lunchbox Fund, which provides nearly 30,000 meals to poor children each day.

The charity is one of four organisations chosen by the Sussexes to benefit from donations made by the public when Archie was born.

Surfing-clad volunteers then invited the royal couple to join them in a dance, followed by a brief session of meditation, seated in a circle on the beach.
AFP

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