Princess Diana is always remembered for her charitable work and for being a champion of causes that were not always in the public eye.
For example, Diana helped change attitudes towards people living with HIV when, in 1987, she opened the first AIDS clinic in the United Kingdom.
When was Princess Diana in Angola?
In January 1997, Princess Diana traveled to Angola, the country with the most landmines that for decades were used in armed conflicts, many of them failed to explode and continued to kill and maim those who stepped on them or shot them without knowing it.
Why did Princess Diana go to Africa?
Diana arrived in Angola with a clear mission: to expose the danger of landmines. Upon arriving at the airport, she gave a speech to dozens of journalists.
“It is a huge privilege for me to have been invited here to Angola to help the Red Cross in its campaign to ban, once and for all, anti-personnel landmines,” she said. There could be no more appropriate place to start this campaign than Angola because this nation has the highest number of amputees per population of any place in the world. He continued… “It is my sincere hope that, by working together in the coming days, we will focus the world’s attention on this vital, but so far, largely neglected issue.”
What did Princess Diana do in Angola?
The princess began her tour in Viana, near Luanda, where she visited the Mines Training Center where she was horrified to see some of the instruments of war that were killing and maiming many people.
She then traveled to Neves Bendinha, an orthopedic workshop run by the Red Cross in Luanda. Diana took the opportunity to meet with some survivors. The images of Diana with amputees in Angola highlighted the destruction these devices were causing.
Diana was photographed with Sandra Thijika, then 13 years old. Thijika, who lost her leg when she was only nine years old. That same day she also visited the Kikolo Health Center in Luanda.
On January 15, Diana arrived in Huambo, where the demining organization The HALO Trust was to show her its work. The Princess of Wales donned a visor and protective gear to walk through a cleared minefield. Photos of the walk went around the world.
Remarkably, today the area where Princess Diana walked in 1997 is now a bustling street full of stores, schools and homes.