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Nigeria’s fashion and dancing styles in the spotlight as Harry, Meghan visit

Royal couple is there to promote mental health, empower young people
Prince Harry and Meghan, center, pose for a photograph with children during the Giant of Africa Foundation at the Dream Big Basketball clinic in Lagos Nigeria, Sunday, May 12, 2024. Prince Harry and his wife Meghan are in Nigeria to champion the Invictus Games, which Prince Harry founded to aid the rehabilitation of wounded and sick servicemembers and veterans. (AP Photo/Sunday Alamba)

Nigeria’s fashion and traditional dances were at full display on Sunday as Prince Harry and Meghan arrived in its largest city, Lagos, as part of their three-day visit to the country to promote mental health for soldiers and empower young people.

The couple, invited to the West African nation by its military, were treated to different bouts of dancing, starting from the Lagos airport where a troupe’s acrobatic moves left both applauding and grinning. One of the dancers, who looked younger than 5 years old, exchanged salutes with Harry from high up in the air, standing on firm shoulders.

Going with Meghan’s white top was the traditional Nigerian aso oke, a patterned handwoven fabric wrapped around the waist and often reserved for special occasions. It was a gift from a group of women a day earlier.

The couple visited a local charity – Giants of Africa — which uses basketball to empower young people. There, they were treated to another round of dancing before unveiling a partnership between the organization and their Archewell Foundation.

“What you guys are doing here at Giants of Africa is truly amazing,” Harry said of the group. “The power of sport can change lives. It brings people together and creates community and there are no barriers, which is the most important thing.”

Masai Ujiri, the charity’s president and an ex-NBA star, wished Meghan a happy Mother’s Day and acknowledged how hard it can be “for us to be away from our kids and family to make things like this happen.”

“To do so shows dedication (and) we truly appreciate it,” he told the couple.

Meghan and Harry later attended a fundraiser for Nigeria’s soldiers wounded in the country’s fight against Islamic extremists and other armed groups in the country’s conflict-battered north. The event was related to Harry’s Invictus Games, which Nigeria is seeking to host in the future.

The couple were also hosted at the Lagos State Government House, where Meghan received another handwoven Nigerian fabric.

“We’ve extended an additional invitation to them that they can always come back when they want to,” Lagos Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu told reporters.

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Asadu reported from Abuja, Nigeria.

Chinedu Asadu And Dan Ikpoyi, The Associated Press