Princess Anne visits Soweto

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18 April 2012

Princess Anne arrived in South Africa on Monday for a three-day visit as part of the celebrations of Queen Elizabeth’s 60th year on the throne – and wasted no time in visiting a number of local charities she supports.

These included the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, the St John Eye Hospital and the Save the Children Cotlands Turffontein Resource Centre in Johannesburg.

The Princess also visited the Soweto Equestrian Foundation, where children from the Adelaide Tambo School for the Physically Challenged showed off their riding skills for her.

South African showjumper and founder of the centre, Enos Mafokate, saw Princess Anne for the first time when he was competing at the London Royal International Horse Show in 1982, but was not allowed to talk to her.

“I never thought she would come to see my centre,” Mafokate told Times LIVE. “When I asked her why she came, she said ‘I came because you started something which no one ever thought could happen in a black township’.”

Mafokate said the Princess had opened a door, “because now people cannot say they can’t go to Soweto – because Princess Anne came to Soweto”.

At a British High Commission garden party for the Princess in Pretoria later on Monday, the Soweto Gospel Choir performed their rendition of South Africa’s national anthem, followed by their version of “God Save the Queen”.

The Princess toasted South African President Jacob Zuma in his absence, and read excerpts from a letter from her mother marking her 60th year on the throne.

On Tuesday, the Princess attended a church service in St Albans Anglican Cathedral to commemorate the Queen, before meeting Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe in Pretoria.

On Wednesday, as part of her duties as member of the International Olympic Committee and President of the British Olympic Association, Princess Anne will mark the 100-days countdown to the 2012 London Olympic Games at a Cape Town school which forms part of the International Inspirations legacy project.

The Princess will end her trip by leading a ceremony of remembrance and wreath-laying at the graves of Commonwealth soldiers and the grave of the nanny of her father, the Duke of Edinburgh.