The Bus Factory, the Johannesburg Development Agency’s (JDA’s) headquarters in the heart of a resurgent inner city, was treated to a special visit by His Royal Highness Prince Harry on Thursday, 3 December (view gallery).

The British royal was in Newtown during the concluding, Johannesburg leg of his trip to Lesotho and South Africa, which he was visiting on behalf of Sentebale, the charity he founded in memory of his mother, the late Princess Diana.

At the Bus Factory, where a Youth Empowerment Exposition was under way, he engaged with young entrepreneurs involved in programmes to develop their business skills using digital as well as more traditional platforms.

The 31-year-old British royal was the centre of attentionThe 31-year-old British royal was the centre of attention at the Youth Empowerment Expo on Thursday, 3 December. (Photos by Elias Nkabinde – SEE GALLERY BELOW FOR MORE IMAGES)Accompanied by City of Joburg Executive Mayor Parks Tau, Prince Harry took a walkabout of the expo, stopping at various stands to chat and listen to the views of the city’s aspirant young business people.

A variety of start-up ventures were on show, ranging from Vuyo’s Boerewors Rolls to Jozi Digital to an online magazine called LiveSA. The Prince also listened to a presentation on digital analytics by Byte Me, an enterprise which processes and evaluates data gathered from social media.

“We have been able to see and engage with young entrepreneurs,” Mayor Tau said, adding that the best part was “witnessing the excitement of young entrepreneurs to implement their ideas.

“It warms my heart to see the enthusiasm the young children have shared with His Royal Highness and their excitement to start their own enterprises.”

Besides being impressed by the energy and innovative thinking on display at the expo, the Prince was fascinated by the creativity with which the JDA has transformed a formerly derelict, disused space into a thriving enterprise hub. The repurposed Bus Factory is one of a number of projects the JDA has spearheaded as part of the City’s ongoing drive to regenerate Newtown and other inner city suburbs.

Prince Harry gets involvedPrince Harry gets involved during a presentation on digital analytics by Byte Me. (Photos by Elias Nkabinde – SEE GALLERY BELOW FOR MORE IMAGES)British High Commissioner Judith Macgregor said the Prince had been delighted to visit such an extraordinary space.

“It has been the most fantastic experience seeing such young entrepreneurs with their ideas on display,” Macgregor said. “His Royal Highness has had an amazing time here, having seen a very large number of young children in South Africa.”

Before he left, the Prince was treated to a live performance by some of the biggest names in South African hip-hop music, including Bianca Le Grange, Hip-Hop-Pantsula, Proverb, Amu, Selwyn, Shuga Smacks and Sliquor.

In a speech delivered later in the day at the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory in Houghton – the final stop of his tour – Prince Harry said that although he had been to South Africa many times, this was his first official tour on behalf of The Queen.

“I have been keen to see how Mr Mandela’s values and his legacy are inspiring the next generation and shaping the future for South Africa.

“I have visited a number of fantastic organisations over the last four days, supporting some of the most disadvantaged young people across the country,” he said. “These organisations, although very different, are united in ambition: to unlock the huge talent amongst youth in South Africa.”

The Prince said he could think of no better way of concluding his visit to South Africa “than by joining you this evening to remember Madiba as we approach the anniversary of his passing. I know he is missed by a generation, a nation and most keenly by his family. However, he will never be forgotten.

“I would like to end by thanking all the South Africans I have met over the last few days for their warm welcome and hospitality. I look forward to seeing you again soon.”