Meghan Markle Wears a Headscarf for Poignant Visit to Mosque in South Africa with Prince Harry
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex viewed the first known manuscript of the Qu'ran in South Africa
After a busy Tuesday morning that saw the couple visit a mental wellness group at Monwabisi Beach and Harry take a solo trip to learn about combating the poaching of abalone, Meghan and Harry visited the Auwal Mosque. It is the oldest mosque in South Africa, built in 1794 during British occupation of the Cape of Good Hope.
During the outing, the royal couple viewed the first known manuscript of the Qu’ran in South Africa, drafted by Tuan Guru (first Imam) from memory while he was imprisoned on Robben Island. They then met members of different faith groups to learn about the work the mosque does to promote interfaith dialogue in Cape Town. The Auwul Mosque welcomes visitors of all denominations and hosts inter-faith dialogues to develop inter-communal and inter-faith understanding between South Africa’s varied communities.
Islam was first introduced in South Africa by exiled Muslim leaders and Cape Malay slaves in the late 1600-1700s. Prior to British occupation, slaves were not allowed to worship Islam. Today, for the Muslim community, the mosque symbolizes the freedom of former slaves to worship.
Meghan and Harry’s visit to Africa marks their first royal tour with their 4-month-old son, Archie, who spotted early Monday morning leaving their plane in Meghan’s arms.
Meghan will join Harry on visits in South Africa before he heads off solo for engagements in Botswana, Angola and Malawi. The Duchess of Sussex is expected to stay in South Africa with Archie.
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At a briefing at Buckingham Palace held earlier this month, the couple’s private secretary Samantha Cohen told reporters that “not only will this visit serve as an opportunity for the Duke and Duchess to highlight many of the causes they have been involved with for many years, it will demonstrate a modern UK-Africa partnership in action.”
“The Duke of Sussex’s love for Africa is well known; he first visited the continent at the age of 13 and more than two decades later, the people, culture, wildlife and resilient communities continue to inspire and motivate him every day,” she added. “As Her Majesty’s Commonwealth Youth Ambassador, the Duke now has a platform to be able to support young people across Africa in reaching their full potential.”
Next up, Meghan and Harry will visit the Bo Kaap area to mark Heritage Day, then finish the day by attending a reception at the British High Commissioner’s residence to meet young future leaders.