The Duchess of Sussex graced Johannesburg’s Victoria Yards with a surprise visit on Monday September 30 as part of Meghan and Harry’s Royal Tour of southern Africa, charming the artists and artisans, (including resident artist James Delaney and his Insta-famous dog Pablo), who have their studios and workshops at this ingeniously transformed space in east Joburg’s creative Maker’s Valley.
Meeting the Maker’s Valley community
During her visit Meghan met with a team of community activists from the Victoria Yards-based Maker’s Valley Partnership who lead development programmes that work with young unemployed and marginalised women, unemployed youth and local high school students.
She also met with the children and founders of the phenomenal programme for kids’ development, Timbuktu in The Valley, who are also based at Victoria Yards, with one of the excitable young children reportedly exclaiming to the Duchess; “but you are a Princess! Where is your crown?!”
Sobae sorbets and denim dungarees for baby Archie
The Duchess of Sussex then made time to stop by to pick up her own pair of Tshepo, The Jean Maker‘s iconic Presidential Slim Fit jeans and was surprised with a special custom-made gift from the denim designer of a super-cute pair of denim dungarees for the royal baby Archie.
Handing over his special gift to the Duchess, Tshepo also shared the story of the brand’s logo, telling her; “The crown on my jeans represents the three ladies who raised me. Enjoy wearing this crown”.
Artisanal sorbet makers, Sobae frozen (who you can also find selling their sorbets at The Wilds on weekends) had the privilege of serving Meghan a taste of their finest vegan sorbets which are made from excess unused fruit as a sustainable solution to curb food waste. According to the Sussex Royal instagram account, Her Royal Highness enjoyed their pumpkin chai spice and strawberry tropical flavours.
Other stops while exploring the sprawling Victoria Yards complex included a visit to Young Bucks, an organisation who use recycled materials, including beautiful shweshwe fabrics, to bind beautiful books, as well as Sneakers 4 Change, an inspirational collective that has initiated a ‘collect-and-give’ charity drive to encourage sneaker fashion followers to donate sneakers to the less fortunate.
One of her guides through Victoria Yards was Simon Sizwe Mayson from the Maker’s Valley Collective, who have been instrumental in linking up creative, social upliftment activities happening at Victoria Yards with the wider community.
Mayson told the Daily Mail following the visit; “the Duchess was really interested in the concept here and how we are working towards the greater good. We are really trying to build a culture of change-making. She loved the way we are working with the community and what we are trying to achieve. It is a microcosm of South Africa here, and it really dovetails with what she wants to do”.