June 29 2010

Japanese royalty in Rustenburg

29/06/2010 - Although Rustenburg is no stranger to royalty as they have their own Royal Bafokeng family, the SOS Children's Village Rustenburg were delighted to host a visit by the Japanese Princess Takamodo and the President of the Japan Football Association on 24 June.

Photo: Brenda Dimbleby
A heartful welcome to Princess Takamodo at Rustenburg - Photo: Brenda Dimbleby

Delighted children and mothers of the SOS Children's Village Rustenburg welcomed Her Imperial Highness Princess Hisako Takamodo of the Japanese Imperial family, together with Mr Inukai, President of the Japan Football Association, among others, when they visited the village on 24 June.

After her husband's death in 2002 Princess Takamodo became very active in a large number of charitable organisations involving sports, cultural exchange and environment. She is currently the honorary patron of the Japan Football Association. "Soccer teaches children about community because it's about teamwork and communication skills; and children who play on grass are healthier," said the Princess.

After being greeted by SOS staff members the Princess toured the integrated SOS Children's Village of Rustenburg. She stepped into a family house where she laughingly commented on the tidiness of the children's rooms. "I am sure that when there are children in the bedrooms they are just as untidy as my children."

Photo: Brenda Dimbleby
Children perform the diski dance for the Princess - Photo: Brenda Dimbleby

The children hugged the Princess and escorted her to the newly built soccer pitch behind the village. Here she was treated to the diski dance by SOS and community children. The Mayor of Rustenburg, Janette Nyati, was also on hand to welcome the Princess. "Arigato [thank you]. We will always cherish this visit in our hearts and we hope for a good relationship with Japan. We feel privileged to have this delegation here today," said Mayor Nyati.

The Princess chatted to the SOS moms and children and expressed her appreciation for the work they do. "I believe in the SOS Children's Village concept and was happy when they made the declaration in 2006 to build more villages. Now, the 2010 World Cup in South Africa has promoted unity. South Africa is a country of love and forgiveness. Children should be brought up in this spirit so they can create better dreams."

Photo: Brenda Dimbleby
Princess Takamodo and the children from Rustenburg... new friends - Photo: Brenda Dimbleby
The Princess and her delegation handed out gifts of soccer balls to the children who immediately began playing a fun game. The older children promised to root for Japan in their match against Denmark later that day. Obviously with success: Japan beat Denmark 3-1 at the Royal Bafokeng Stadium in Rustenburg.