During his recent African trip, Prince Harry told a group of young reformed South African gang members that he didn’t enjoy being at Eton College and would have preferred to be a bad boy. He then went on to play football with kids in the Khayelitsha township and touch rugby with youngsters in Durban.
Prince Harry has been doing the rounds in Africa for a few days. First stop was the official opening of the Sentebale Mamohato Children’s Center in Lesotho, set up by the Prince together with Prince Seeiso of Lesotho to give the best possible care to children affected by HIV/AIDS in that country.
As reported by the Inquisitr, Harry then played in the Sentebale Royal Salute Polo Cup in South Africa, set up by the Prince as a charity event to help finance the children’s center.
The Prince, 31, then headed into the city of Cape Town, where he spent some time at the Ottery Youth Center, a organization in Ottery, Cape Town, set up to rehabilitate young gang leaders and members in the area.
He enjoyed his time spent with the youths and regaled them with stories of his experiences at the prestigious Eton College, saying he didn’t enjoy his time there and would have felt far more at home at a correctional center, just like the one he was visiting.
Confessing that he always wanted to be a “bad boy,” Harry said he would probably have far more enjoyed time at the more down to earth Ottery Youth Center, which offers the boys woodwork classes and a livestock farm and has reformed gangsters as teachers.
The center currently accommodates and educates around 60 children between the ages of nine and 17, many of whom were sent there by the South African courts. Reportedly, Cape Town suffers the worst gang-related problems in the country, with several gangs in the city, estimated to have a membership of over 100,000 people.
The Prince was shown around by Rashad Allen, who is reportedly a reformed member of one of the country’s most feared gangs, the Numbers gangs. Their members make up the majority of prisoners at Pollsmoor, one of the prisons where the former South African President Nelson Mandela’s spent his incarceration.
As he arrived at the center, the Royal youngster introduced himself to the boys.
“My name is Prince Harry, the Queen of England’s grandson, Princess Diana’s son. I’ve come all the way from England to see you guys. I’m interested to hear all your stories. I didn’t enjoy school at all. I would like to have come to a place like this. When I was at school I wanted to be the bad boy.”
He then went on to get a dig at his older brother, Prince William, saying that if you have an older brother who is not into gangs, “that’s a huge positive,” and amused the kids no end, telling them the older brother is usually the cool one, but not in his case.
“I’m a younger brother, but I’m much cooler than my older brother.”
The Telegraph mentions one of the children Harry met on his visit, who goes by the name Lucky. Lucky told the Prince that he started smoking and drinking at the age of nine and ended up in the Ottery Youth Center when he was 13. Lucky said he had a lot of anger, adding, “A big guy abused me when I was six. I came here because I needed help.”
The teenager went on to tell Prince Harry that since he’s been in the center he has taken up martial arts, including kick boxing and karate, and has had quite a bit of luck in competitions. Explaining that this is why he has been dubbed with the name Lucky, he said that through this his anger started to leave him.
According to one of the center’s youth workers, Alan de Vries, the key is to teach the children about respect and discipline and he said there are very few children he’s met that can’t be saved.
Reportedly, the Prince headed Monday to one of South Africa’s largest and most dangerous townships, Khayelitsha on the outskirts of Cape Town where he met some young footballers. While Prince Harry was there he interacted with some of the youngsters, having a little fun at a football development center, Football for Hope with Grassroots Soccer.
While there, the media were asked not to publicize his visit until he had left, due to the security risk in the dangerous area.
While Prince Harry was in Cape Town, he also visited the Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu at the V&A Waterfront in the city. Harry presented Tutu with the Order of the Companion of Honor medal on behalf of his grandmother, the Queen, for his outstanding achievements in arts, culture and religion.
Renowned for his sense of humor, Eyewitness News reports that after Prince Harry gave him the award, Tutu jokingly told the media that they don’t have to call him “Sir.”
According to Independent Online, Harry then headed off to Durban in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, where he had fun playing tag rugby with children at the Kings Park Stadium, during a training and skills session with The Sharks rugby team.
The Prince took his place on the field Tuesday morning with the other players, and Harry was captain for one team and the Sharks CEO, John Smith, captained the other. While it was apparently difficult to say who actually won the game, the youngsters thoroughly enjoyed interacting with the Prince.
There is no doubt Prince Harry left an excellent impression on all the youngsters he met during his visits to both Lesotho and South Africa.
[Photo Prince Harry at Ottery Youth Center by Ian Vogler/Pool/Getty Images]