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Prince Harry swaps gifts with Malawi's president

Though Harry has visited Malawi several times privately, this trip is his first visit in an official capacity, marking the final leg of his solo tour across southern Africa.

A handout photo made available by the HALO Trust shows Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, visiting the minefield in Dirico, Angola on 27 September 2019. Picture: AFP

JOHANNESBURG - Britain’s Prince Harry exchanged gifts with Malawi’s president during his first official visit to the country on Sunday, where he also visited a college and was joined by his wife Meghan via video call.

The Duke of Sussex had left the duchess and their four-month-old son Archie in Cape Town, where on Saturday Meghan met with a group of female activists, to visit Botswana, Angola and Malawi.

Though Harry has visited Malawi several times privately, this trip is his first visit in an official capacity, marking the final leg of his solo tour across southern Africa before rejoining his family in Johannesburg.

On Sunday in the capital Lilongwe, he met with President Peter Mutharika, who presented Harry with a large gift wrapped in green paper and received one from the duke in return.

He later attended a reception at the British High Commissioner’s residence, where he delivered an address in front of a union jack backdrop.

Earlier in the day, the duke visited a college to meet young women whose education is partially supported by The Queen’s Commonwealth Trust (QCT), of which Harry and Meghan are president and vice president respectively.

Harry was greeted by a line of students waving British and Malawi flags before entering the college, where Meghan joined proceedings via Skype while, she said, Archie took a nap.

A post on the couple’s official Instagram said the project was changing the lives of many young women.

“As president and vice president of the QCT, the Duke and Duchess both believe in the power of education to empower young girls, and change society as a whole,” the post said.

Harry, Queen Elizabeth’s grandson and sixth in line to the throne, has been visiting southern Africa for two decades for holidays and conservation work, but this is his the first official overseas tour with both Meghan and their son.

The family drew crowds of well-wishers in Cape Town, where Meghan visited a post office where a female student was murdered last month in one of a spate of killings and rapes that have sparked outrage over high levels of gender-based violence in the country.

It was announced on Sunday that Meghan, known for being an advocate for women’s rights, had met a group of female leaders and activists the previous day. The women included Sophia Williams-De Bruyn, who in 1956 led 20,000 women in an anti-apartheid march on the seat of government in Pretoria when she was only 18 years old.

“I was recently reminded that the first one up the mountain often gets knocked down the hardest but makes way for everyone behind them,” a statement quoted Meghan as saying to the women, adding that all young female campaigners must keep at it.

Gender-based violence, she said, was a global problem and the solution had to come from everybody, regardless of factors such as race, gender or politics.

On Monday Harry will fly to Liwonde National Park in Malawi, where he will join an anti-poaching patrol with local park rangers and witness an anti-poaching demonstration conducted by local rangers and the UK military.

The next day he will visit a health centre, pharmacy and youth reproductive health outreach programme before rejoining his family in South Africa for another township visit, this time in Johannesburg.

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