Monday, 30 September 2019

Meghan Celebrates the Power Of Community During "Exceptional" Victoria Yards Visit

It was an afternoon filled with artistic delights, inspiring causes and a host of exciting meetings for the Duchess of Sussex in Victoria Yards. The previously unannounced visit celebrated "the power of community, bringing local artisans and 'makers' together to rebuild, support and learn from each other on a holistic level".


It's very much a hub, not just for creative expression and learning, but for tackling social issues too.


Sussex Royal shared: "Artists, artisans, sculptors, metal workers and carpenters are all part of the fabric of Victoria Yards, but it also utilizes the power of The DICE programme which supports several other local organisations in their work with marginalised youth and women. Artists, artisans, sculptors, metal workers and carpenters are all part of the fabric of Victoria Yards, but it also utilizes the power of the DICE programme which supports several other local organisations in their work with marginalised youth and women. These include: 94 Colours (run by the Duchess’ guides for the day, Hector and Sibusiso), CDP (a development programme for young unemployed and marginalised women that provides training to start creative enterprises), Enke (rebuilds the confidence and self-belief of unemployed youth through training and practical experience), 26’10 South (an architecture firm designing a local youth centre) and ReimagiNation (works with local secondary school students to create a social and creative enterprising mindset)." It's the very definition of a grassroots, purposeful place located in the heart of South Africa's biggest city.


The Palace described the visit as "exceptional". The Duchess spent time with the founders, and children supported by Timbuktu in the Valley, an incredible programme for children's development. Based in Victoria Yards, they are working to equip local youth with the skills to enable them to become independent citizens. Subjects include everything from swimming and baking to gardening and fixing bicycles. If you would like to support their efforts, they have a Go Fund Me page here.


Local denim designer Tshepo Mohlala received a call from the British Embassy last month requesting he create a pair of jeans for the Duchess. He got quite the surprise when she arrived to collect them personally. As she looked at the skinny fit pair she said "oh my, oh my" and she couldn't wait to try them on. Tshepo also made a beautiful pair of dungarees for Archie. The Duchess commented: "Very cute, I think they are lovely." The distinctive crown logo on Tshepo's jeans was inspired by the three women who raised him.


The Duchess toured the Delaney Studio.


Channel 24 reports:

'Artist James Delaney, said: "We were told in the morning to expect a very important guest later in the day". James describes the duchess as "polite, friendly and informal. He says: "We had a friendly chat. I introduced myself as James, and she said: 'Hi, I'm Meghan'." 
The pair talked about his work, local artists and the close-knit community at Victoria Yards. "She was there for about an hour and would chat to everyone who came up to her," he said. 
The artist, who called the experience a "whirlwind," said: "It was lovely to meet her."

Meghan views James's work.


Contemporary artist James Delaney works in paint, sculpture, charcoal and print from his studio at Victoria Yards. He has taken part in over 25 group and solo exhibitions in SA and the USA, most recently at the Wits Art Museum, and has won several awards for his work. Below, a look at his outdoor sculpture City Kudu.


During a conversation with co-director of the Maker’s Valley Partnership, Simon Sizwe, Meghan learned more about a 'wellbeing economy'. Simon was awarded a scholarship to attend the Young African Leaders Initiative programme initiated by President Obama. He told the Duchess that by investing in the wellbeing of a community and its people, all aspects of life are enriched.


We know Meghan has been keeping her good friend Michelle Obama updated during the tour. At a reception in Cape Town, the Sussexes met Obama Foundation leaders supporting girls education around the world. On Instagram, the former First Lady shared this photo with the caption: "Thank you to my friend...a thoughtful leader who is breaking the mold and making our world better for it."


Meghan spent time with the owners of Sobae Frozen, a small business inspired by a desire to reduce food waste.


Sorbet is created daily with the unused fruit at Victoria Yards. Meghan tasted the pumpkin chain spice and strawberry tropical.


Meghan met a selection of craftspeople and artisans.


And heard musical performances.


More from Sussex Royal:

'At the end of her visit, the Duchess was moved by the original poetry of Belita Andre, the winner of the Poetry Grandslam. In her reading she said: “The Maker’s Valley is a social and enterprise hub, a wave between my corner of the world and yours. Insisting that beyond the anchors of survival. How to make sure that everyone gets to shore, pass around an ocean of stars, not because our sleepless nights are equal but because our dreams are.”

The Duchess looked effortlessly chic in Artizia's Wilfred Shirt Dress (with thanks to Laura from UFO No More). The $148 piece is described as "a vintage-style, button-front dress inspired by a traditional house dress. Recently redesigned for an even more flattering fit, it's made from drapey fabric with a pebbled texture". It comes in several colours. Meghan wore 'pure indigo'.


Meghan sported her Everlane Editor Slingback flats in 'persimmon suede'.


The Duchess wore the Magi earrings in blue by ethical South African jewellers Pichulik (a great ID by Solid Moonlight who discovered the pair during a spot of pre-tour research). The $95 pair are described: "The Magi earring dusted in gold and beads arched like a rising sun. Magi is the origin of the word magic and was used to describe people of great sacred knowing. The alchemy of your own transformation is your medicine and magic."


I really enjoyed learning about today's engagement and the range of people Meghan met. I absolutely love how Victoria Yards is being utilised to support important organisations and non-profit efforts in addition to showcasing some of South Africa's most amazing creative minds and budding entrepreneurs. From ordering a pair of jeans a month ago from Tshepo to championing an ethical South African jewellery brand, the level of care and thought that went into the planning of every step of this tour is evident to see. I'm loving Meghan's tour schedule and the additional engagements we're learning about.


Tomorrow, Meghan will attend a round-table discussion with the Association of Commonwealth Universities. The Duchess will then visit a school to learn about the work of a local charity which receives UK aid funding to raise awareness and tackle sexual violence in schools.

38 comments:

  1. I'm loving so much about this tour. It's great seeing the organizations and charities get some exposure, and hopefully some donations.
    Side note, I love these red flats.

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  2. How lovely....can't wait to see all the creativity

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  3. Maria from Austria30 September 2019 at 18:28

    Love the dress!

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  4. Courtney Providence Village30 September 2019 at 18:30

    I must say! I LOVE how she adorns her looks with a multitude of stylish flats and not just during this trip! I’m a mother and, since children, by goodness a wonderful, comfy pair of flats is a staple in my wardrobe;) I’m not into heels as much anymore! I’m proud Kate can pull it off and can stand for hours on end in them but not me! ;)) It’s a breath of fresh air to see :)

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  5. Wow what a great engagement! Meghan is so warm and she really glows with the kids. On a shallow note I want that dress! I love it in the different colors. This tour has been such a breath of fresh air from the constant negative news. Thanks Charlotte for the great work that you’ve been doing.

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    1. Anne-Sophie de Paris30 September 2019 at 19:59

      Bonjour Ivy Lin,
      vous m'avez enlevé le commentaire de la bouche. Comme toujours, Charlotte est effectivement fidèle au poste pour nous faire vivre en temps réel l'engagement de Meghan.
      Elle est comme toujours sublime et bien impliquée dans sa mission.
      Certains s'interrogent sur le fait que le couple ne soient pas ensemble pour leurs fiançailles.
      En ce qui me concerne, je crois que Meghan et Harry ne fonctionneront pas comme les autres royal's.
      Ils auront des fiançailles en commun, mais chacun aura son propre domaine de compétence.
      Ce qui leur permettra de ne pas faire ombrage à l'autre.
      Très belle tournée.
      Merci à Charlotte.
      Je crois que nous assisterons. à une belle histoire des liens du Commonwealth et le Royaume-Uni. Leurs ambassadeurs sont très représentatifs.

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  6. Can we just talk about how often Meghan wears flats? Almost like a normal human being lol. I love it! It looks professional and classy and it doesn't have to be a stiletto.
    Ella

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    1. I'm for Flats > Heels ;)
      Totally down-to-earth.

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    2. The flats is a post-baby thing no? I remember her teetering in stilettos even in the last months of her pregnancy. Then baby Archie comes and she's in flats. I love it personally. As someone who is dealing with a nasty ankle sprain heels are out of the question for me for awhile.

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    3. Maria from Austria30 September 2019 at 21:27

      She wore a lot of flats before Archie and Harry. The Tig prooved it.

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    4. Maria, I agree. It seems like we are seeing the before-Harry Meghan, which is perfectly fine with me. I'm glad she's not holding back.

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  7. Nursing / pumping mothers everywhere are getting a masterclass in a nursing-friendly wardrobe this tour. Love it.

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    1. I assumed she wasn’t nursing since she has left Archie overnight a few times! She may have pumped all night while gone...I’ve done that before and it was the worst. Oh the things we do for our babies!

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  8. What does a wife do when husband is away? She goes shopping!!haha!!I love Megan.

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  9. Great cause, sweet kids, cute dress, nice flats in red, an all round successful day for Meghan.

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  10. The email address for Tshepojeans is

    Email: Hello@tshepothejeanmaker.co.za

    in case anyone wanted to know and possibly order a pair.

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  11. That's what I call a great fit for her body type, well done!
    Federica

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    1. Amen. The shirtwaist silhouette she favors but simple and doesn't overwhelm her.

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    2. Yes, I think it's great on her!
      Federica

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  12. What an exciting engagement! Creativity and art are essential to the human spirit for inspiration, for lightening the load, for every aspect of life. I love this whole day. I love City Kudu (so beautifully done), Belita Andre's mystical poetry, the mouth watering Sorbet, the colorful way the works were displayed in the galary space. I love Meghan's dress and red shoes. And, of course, I love Meghan. Thank you, Charlotte for giving us so much info about all involved.

    R

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  13. This dress is perfect for her slight frame and then she nails it with the pop of color flats and locally sourced earrings. This project looks so exciting and forward-thinking. Meghan and her staff deserve high praise for the engagements arranged for this tour. Every one is meaningful, inspiring, and a learning experience for this fascinating continent.

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  14. Very nice and appropriate outfit. Well done, Meghan.

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  15. Quick lunch breather to check on the Sussex’s happenings :) This was a fun outing showcasing the arts and local entrepreneurs. I like her whole ensemble today. Best of all, her interactions with the people (esp. with those kids) show real resonation.

    I agree with many people about the flats (I love it when Kate wears them too). As someone who is short and stands on her feet all day at work, I love low comfy heels and flats. So yes, bring them on! -Martine

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  16. SHE. IS. KILLING. IT!!

    Happy for the 2 of them. What an asset to the BRF.

    On the fashion front, I understand she wanted this trip to be "low key" in terms of dress, ring, etc. I find this a bit ironic only because I find her a low key dresser in general. I know she enjoys high fashion but she rarely comes across as a clothes horse or slave to fashion. Truthfully she looks better when she doesn't.

    Now if I could just get her to accessorize when she gets back to London.....lol.

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  17. What a great visit. I love her earrings the most. Also so happy to read how informal her interactions are which I believe is important to the next generations. (I know some will say that takes the magic away from the Royals). Thank you for another well researched and informative post Charlotte.

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  18. I want to add, thank you Charlotte for including the royal correspondents’ comments of this trip. It’s educating to get their perspective as they chronicle many BRF events/trips. I particularly like Omid Scobie and Chris Ship. Both seem to go out of the way to note the local people, culture, and surroundings as well as local happenings and include that in their reporting. This gives context and richness which is why I love your writing , Charlotte. It educates me and makes me think. Love that.

    - Martine

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  19. Great article. I really enjoyed reading it.

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  20. Another good look on her and, wow, the earrings simply amazing!

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    1. My thoughts, too! I love the dress, gorgeous shoes, and beautiful earrings! And what a fun day it sounds like it was.

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  21. Thank you Charlotte for this post. Really enjoyed this engagement for Meghan. I love the story of her ordering the jeans and it was nice of the designer to make Archie dungarees. Love the group hug with the kids, that is something she does. This has helped highlight small businesses and the work they do with teaching the kids and passing on this skills.

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  22. A place all of us could visit should we be in Johannesburg! My goodness, she was only there for an hour? I'm glad that Meghan had an event where she seemed to be able to totally relax and enjoy the people and the art. I'm amazed with the way she manages to support a SA jeans makeer (is it her third?) and a jewlery maker in the city she is visiting. I think in Cape Town the issues and events were too "weighty" to draw attention away from them. But she has very quietly and effectively shown her support for the industry. Might I also say that she looks stunningly beautiful today!

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  23. Thanks for the great detailed report, Charlotte!

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  24. I am loving this tour! I think one of the most fun things is that Harry and Meghan get to do stuff close to their hearts that are also important to the Commonwealth and youth. Less pomp and circumstance (which is a part of diplomatic life) but not always as fun and more real, down to earth engagements.

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  25. Susan In Florida1 October 2019 at 01:16

    Duchess Meghan is just amazing and so thoughtful. Thank you Charlotte for all the coverage.

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  26. I can’t say it enough. I’m learning! I’m learning! Thank you, Duchess of Sussex and thank you, Charlotte for bringing this info/tour to us in such an excellent fashion.

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  27. I just love Meghan's style on this trip. So laid-back and comfortable. Oh and my heart is so happy knowing that Meghan and Michelle keep up with each other, love these women!

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  28. yea i really love these visit she do has a natural with kids just like duchess catherine and ahe talk about woman epowerment

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  29. I seriously love this whole outfit. Stunning!

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