The Birmingham 2022 Queen’s Baton Relay has completed its African journey

The Queen’s Baton Relay has visited all Commonwealth nations and territories in Africa

Batonbearers in Kenya, the Birmingham 2022 Queen’s Baton Relay has completed its African journey

The Birmingham 2022 Queen’s Baton Relay has completed over a quarter of its journey, having visited 22 of the 72 Commonwealth nations and territories, with the Baton completing its tour of the African Commonwealth nations and territories.

Beginning on 7 October at Buckingham Palace, the Baton is now 79 days into the 294-day trip. Starting with Cyprus and Malta, then touring West Africa, with the Relay most recently completing visits to Cameroon, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Tanzania, Malawi, Zambia, Mozambique, Mauritius, Botswana, St. Helena, South Africa, Namibia, Eswatini, Lesotho, and the Seychelles.

The Queen’s Baton Relay is taking place in the lead up to the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games and aims to bring together communities from the 72 nations and territories in the Commonwealth.

During the visit from the Queen’s Baton Relay, each Commonwealth Games Association organises an itinerary of activities, from demonstrating how they engage young people in sport, to showcasing the incredible individuals that are striving for change in their community. All nations and territories also highlight a project that addresses at least one of the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

For example, while in Kenya, the Baton was hiked up the Ngong Hills, which make up part of the 7,000km long Great Rift Valley, that runs from Lebanon to Mozambique. At the peak, the Batonbearers took part in a tree planting activity where they were joined by children from local performance group, Huruma Town Kids, two of whom dressed up as The Queen and Prince Edward for the occasion.

During the visit to Uganda, the Baton visited the Uganda Wildlife Education Centre, which runs various conservation projects across the country, as well as the Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary, whose mission is to protect chimpanzees and their ecosystems.

In Tanzania, the Baton was taken to the Askari Monument, which memorialises African soldiers that fought in the British Campaign against Germany in World War I, where Batonbearers and attendees paid their respects to the lives lost.

The Baton visited St Michael and All Angels Church in Malawi, which was designed by Reverend David Clement Scott and built by locals, all of whom had no previous formal training. The church tells the story of a community coming together to create something remarkable for future generations.

Mary Waya, who previously competed at three Commonwealth Games in the Malawi Netball Team and then founded the Mary Waya Foundation which encourages girls in Africa to take up sport, represented her country as a Batonbearer.

Speaking on the opportunity to be involved in the Queen’s Baton Relay, Malawian Batonbearer Mary Waya said: “The Commonwealth Games means a lot to me and being a Batonbearer for the Queen's Baton Relay has been a real honour. The young girls I train hope to one day represent our country and take on the Baton for the Commonwealth Games.”

While touring South Africa, the Baton was taken to the Big Hole (The Kimberly Mine), an open-pit and underground mine, which was once thought to be the deepest hole excavated by hand. When the mine was active, almost three tons of diamonds were recovered from it.

The Baton visited many incredible islands in the Seychelles, including La Digue, home to Anse Source D’Argent, which is widely considered to be one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. At the beach, people performed the Moutya dance around a bonfire.

Head of The Queen’s Baton Relay Lisa Hampton lauded the Commonwealth nations for the showcases at each stop.

"Learning about all of the ongoing environmental initiatives, such as the Nyandungu Urban Wetland Ecotourism Park, is amazing and it is a fantastic representation of how the Commonwealth can come together in solidarity and inspire future generations to take on the same responsibility.

“I can’t wait to see the rest of the journey unfold and see how the remaining Commonwealth Games Associations celebrate the Queen’s Baton Relay,” she stated.

Dame Louise Martin, President of the Commonwealth Games Federation, added: “It is amazing to see the inspirational impact the Queen’s Baton Relay has had across the African Commonwealth nations and territories. The Baton has received the warmest welcome wherever it has been, and it is clear excitement for Birmingham 2022 is continuing to grow across the region.

“It is unbelievable to think that the Baton has already completed over a quarter of its journey, having visited 22 of our Commonwealth Games Associations.

“We are all now looking forward to an exciting next leg of the journey across South Asia with the Baton set to visit Pakistan, the Maldives, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.”

The Queen’s Baton Relay will now continue its journey around the Commonwealth, starting its South Asian journey in Pakistan, the Maldives, Sri Lanka, then Bangladesh.

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