HRH Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, visits Victoria Yards

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”.

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Hanging out at @victoria_yards this week – the lovely Duchess of Sussex, Meghan Markle Well done @simon.sizwe @tshepojeans @tshepothejeanmaker and @xquizified for showing her one of Joburg’s best sides #Repost @sussexroyal ・・・ While in Johannesburg today, The Duchess of Sussex visited Victoria Yards, which celebrates the power of community, bringing local artisans and “makers” together to rebuild, support and learn from each other on a holistic level. It was an exceptional afternoon where The Duchess had the chance to connect with the children and founders of the phenomenal programme for kids’ development Timbuktu in The Valley. She was also struck by the local denim designer who founded eponymous brand Tshepo who shared this info about the logo for his line: “The crown on my jeans represents the three ladies who raised me. Enjoy wearing this crown.” Such a beautiful and touching sentiment! 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). Stay tuned for more updates from this special afternoon… #RoyalVisitSouthAfrica @timbuktuinthevalley_school

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