He’s the best dad: Meghan praises Harry during visit to Cape Town beach
The duke also described the duchess as the ‘best mum’ when the couple were asked to declare their personal strengths.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex traded compliments about being good parents as they celebrated the “positivity” of African Township teenagers.
Harry and Meghan travelled to a stunning Cape Town beach to learn about a charity using local surfers to help the next generation cope with the mental health stresses of living in the notorious slum settlements.
The couple held an impromptu question-and-answer session with the press, and asked about the message they were trying to promote, the duchess replied: “I think what’s amazing about being here today, as you can see, there’s so much good happening in the world, and there’s so much positivity and all of this diversity and inclusivity – think the focus is on that…”
They spent the morning at Monwabisi Beach with Waves for Change, a charity which trains “surf mentors” to support youngsters through the sport – but strong winds prevented them from venturing on to the sand.
During a “power hand” bonding exercise, where the couple were asked to declare their personal strengths, Harry cheekily ducked the task and invited his wife to share instead.
Meghan looked bashful as she tried to think of something and, after dancing in a Township on Monday, was told she might consider the activity her strong point, but she laughed and said “no”.
But she did think “parenting” was a new strength she and Harry were “learning and developing”.
Turning to her husband, she declared him “the best dad”, while Harry – who smiled while looking at his wife – called her “the best mum”.
Waves for Change was founded after a group of surfing enthusiasts discovered how beneficial the sport was in engaging young people and helping their mental health.
Daily exposure to violence and stress in South Africa means that many residents, particularly young people, suffer from acute emotional and psychological difficulties.
But early evidence suggests that those who take part in surfing session experience improved feelings of belonging, trust and confidence.
Harry said people from the local community who had suffered traumatic experiences were working with Waves for Change and were not only sharing their experiences but “able to help the younger generation.”
The duke added there was a whole generation of children with “no role models at all” but now they were being given an opportunity.
Highlighting the nearby Townships, the duke said: “It’s amazing to think that just on the other side of here, you’ve got tin huts with all these kids with nothing, and bringing them together a nice hot meal provided by Lunchbox Fund, and the sea of which they’ve been terrified of most of their lives.
“Now they can swim, they can surf…”
Speaking about Monday when the couple visited Nyanga Township in Cape Town, the duke said: “Yesterday was great and to start in Nyanga was amazing.”
He went on to comment on the growing issue in South Africa of violence against women: “I think everyone across the world now has probably heard about what’s been happening more recently – that kind of stuff happens all the time, every year, but it really peaked in the last month or so, we’ve done our best to keep track of what’s been going on.”
Harry added: “This Africa tour was always going to be fantastic, been looking forward to Cape Town – her first visit, I love this place. And again meeting the people, the energy, the fun, again the positivity, the optimism and the hope in the face of such incredible adversity.
“There are young people and older people, men and women trying to change what effectively has become the norm.”
The Sussexes were greeted by Waves for Change founding director Tim Conibear when they arrived at the charity’s home, a collection of old shipping containers close to the beach where they support 1,200 children from the region.
“How’s it going?” asked Meghan, who was dressed casually in jeans and a denim jacket with a white shirt and brown woven loafers.
One of the unnamed mentors – described as the “heart” of the organisation – talked the couple through how they worked with children, aged 11 to 15, many of whom had no caring adults in their lives.
“It’s about consistency, isn’t it?’ nodded the duchess.
“Presumably you need to teach some of these kids how to swim before you can get them to surf?” Harry asked.
During the visit, the couple also met staff from the Lunchbox Fund, which provides 30,000 nutritious meals daily to Waves for Change programmes and schools in South Africa’s townships and rural areas.
Many of these children would often go hungry and the meal encourages them to attend school, with the food aiding their concentration.
Outside, the royals joined 25 surf mentors taking part in a lively “kilo”, a welcoming chant, call and response game that had been move from the beach as the wind was whipping up the sand.
Harry and Meghan joined in enthusiastically, slapping their thighs and laughing.
At the end the duchess gave a little jump of excitement and hugged the young girl next to her.
Before leaving the couple kissed, a rarely seen gesture of affection, as the duke was travelling on to a solo event featuring members of the Royal Marines