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Harry and Meghan's concern for the children of South Africa's townships

  • Video report by ITV News Royal Editor Chris Ship

To go to play on a beach with your friends might seem like the most basic building blocks of childhood.

But if you’re a child living in one of Cape Town’s sprawling townships, then a day at the beach isn’t something that happens in your life.

Your parents are involved in gangs, there is crime happening all around you, there’s a good chance you see violence in your own family.

And that’s why Prince Harry and Meghan wanted to lend their support to a charity that allows children to be children.

The royal couple have been visiting some of the more impoverished areas. Credit: ITV News

Waves For Change takes kids who live in the vast townships just across the road from the beach and gives them a ‘safe place’ to play, to learn to surf.

The Duke of Sussex said: “It’s amazing to think that just on the other side of here you’ve got tin huts with all these kids with nothing.”

Harry said most of the children have been “terrified” of the sea for “most of their lives".

The Sussexes have been going around Cape Town. Credit: ITV News

“Now they can swim, they can surf”, he added.

We saw the townships as we travelled out of Cape Town.

They are many in number and they stretch for miles.

There is a youth unemployment rate here of a staggering 57%.

The charity helps the children and youngsters cope with mental illness associated with their tough lives.

Meghan said that it was an issue that affected people “no matter where you are in the world”.

The Duchess of Sussex said: “If you’re a small community or a Township, if you’re in a big city – it’s that everyone is dealing with a different version of the same thing.”

“Globally I think there’s a bit of a consciousness crisis,” Meghan added.

And she praised the Waves for Change staff saying “so much good work” is being done “just because people are willing to talk to each other about it and someone’s willing to listen”.

Meghan, who was born in California, said: “And that can apply to being here, certainly can apply to being in London, LA – doesn’t matter where you are, we’re all sort of trying to power through and find some optimism.”

Yesterday, the couple started their tour in another township – which has an alarming reputation for being the most dangerous in South Africa.

Parts of the township are so dangerous that emergency services avoid going to those areas in fear of being attacked. Credit: ITV News

The Nyanga suburb has the highest murder rate in the country and today Prince Harry spoke of the concern he and Meghan had for the people of South Africa.

He said: “I think everyone across the world now has probably heard about what’s been happening more recently – that kind of stuff happens all the time, every year, but it really peaked in the last month or so”.

The couple have not yet shown their baby son in public here.

Meghan is returning to Archie for his lunchtime feed each day, and they plan to share a picture of him at a time that suits them all.