WATCH | How Princess Charlene is using her Chihuahuas to teach isiZulu to her twins

Princess Charlene of Monaco, who is a South African native, is in the country as part of the Nelson Mandela centenary celebrations.
Princess Charlene of Monaco, who is a South African native, is in the country as part of the Nelson Mandela centenary celebrations.
Image: Abigail Javier

Princess Charlene of Monaco's twins are learning isiZulu – thanks to the help of the family's two Chihuahuas‚ Thula and Wena.

The Benoni-raised princess made the revelation to TimesLIVE in Johannesburg on Wednesday as she arrived in the country to attend the annual Nelson Mandela lecture by former US president Barack Obama‚ taking place on Sunday.

In a light-hearted interview‚ Princess Charlene said that her 3-year-old twins‚ Prince Jacques and Princess Gabriella‚ were learning a few Zulu words as part of keeping them in touch with their African roots.

Princess Charlene was born in Zimbabwe.

“We are getting a little bit‚ like ‘thula wena’. I have two Chihuahuas‚ one’s named ‘Thula’ and the other is ‘Wena’‚” she said‚ giggling.

Princess Charlene of Monaco, raised in South Africa, is in the country as part of the Nelson Mandela centenary celebrations. We had a sit-down interview with her and talked about her life as a princess and what South Africa means to her. Subscribe to TimesLIVE here: https://www.youtube.com/user/TimesLive

The former Olympic swimmer‚ who was clad in a grey Italian luxury cashmere throw-over by Loro Piana and grey ankle boots‚ wore her smile throughout the high tea at Monte Casino‚ Kempton Park‚ on Wednesday.

“It’s always great to come back home. I always found that in my life swimming gave me an opportunity to travel the world. I always felt responsible and a need to give back to my country and give back to those who are less fortunate. My trip this time is to attend the Nelson Mandela lecture and engage with the elders. I’m very excited about that‚” she said.

Being a mother has been a major game changer for her‚ but she has managed to keep fit and stay healthy.

“Being a mom has added pressure and responsibility; you have to educate and keep them safe. They are asking me questions and want to have conversations with me‚ which is more stressful.

“I’m not a big fan of the gym. I lived in a gym and swimming pool environment most of my life training for Olympics. But now I enjoy outdoor activities...water biking‚ hiking‚ not as much running but my children keep me busy‚” Charlene said.

The former Olympic swimmer said teaching children on water safety was central to the work of her foundation.

“Everyone has their own technique. I think that swimming and learning to swim should be part of all of us. It’s become very important for me to spearhead this message globally‚ that people should educate their children on learning to swim‚ particularly CPR‚” she said.

The Princess Charlene Foundation helps children with education and development through sport – rugby and swimming in particular.

During her stay she will meet with charities from The Giving Organisation Trust in her role as patron‚ and also engage with stakeholders as part of her funding raising efforts for her foundation.

She announced that she will be hosting a water bike challenge in Cape Town 17 February in Cape Town.

“It’s quite hard; it’s not exactly like cycling on the road. The feeling is like you are cycling uphill. The challenge itself takes about two hours to complete for 20 kilometres. In the previous one there were 100 competitors and 20 teams about a month ago‚” she said.

The wife of Prince Albert II said although she has been following the 2018 Russia World Cup‚ she could not say which team she was rooting for.

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