King greeted by lively drum beats during visit to new Africa Centre

The King was greeted by lively drum beats and a warm welcome during his first visit to the new Africa Centre in south London.

Charles spoke to artists, popped into a radio station and joined a discussion about the effects of climate change in Africa and the role of African people in the UK, during his visit to the cultural hub in Southwark.

Charles toured the new headquarters of The Africa Centre, which originally opened its doors in 1964 to champion the cause of Africa and its people worldwide, in Southwark.

Charles had previously visited its old Covent Garden home in central London, when he was Prince of Wales, in 1988.

King visit to The Africa Centre
The King meets Selene Jordan in the Radio Colourful studio (Jack Hill/The Times/PA)

On his rainy arrival in a bitter winter chill, he was greeted by the welcoming beats of the Oduduwa Talking Drummers.

Ayan De First, of the Oduduwa Talking Drummers, said: “I am so proud, so happy and so honoured because this is what we normally do for our kings in Nigeria.

“What we were saying with the drum is playing a special rhythm for the royals, which is to say we respect the king and we are paying homage.

“We use the talking drums to welcome people or to praise them and to do many things.”

The UK-based charity was originally set up to foster non-governmental relations between newly independent countries in Africa and Britain.

It now has modern-day mission to educate, connect, and advocate for Africa and its people across the globe.

King visit to The Africa Centre
The King meets the Oduduwa Talking Drummers from Yoruba land, Nigeria (Jack Hill/The Times/PA)

Culture, entrepreneurship and innovation, community and intellectual leadership are the main focus of its activities.

Charles made a surprise visit to Colourful Radio, billed as a creative studio dedicated to curating African and African-Caribbean music, culture and experiences.

Charles apologised if he was interrupting during presenter Selene C Jordan’s afternoon show, only for her to tell him: “No, this is where the party is. We were expecting you. Now we can begin.”

As he left, Charles asked if non-stop music was played at the digital station, based at The Africa Centre.

Ms Jordan replied that “anytime you tune in there will be something for you”, as Charles left the station to the sound of a funky soul soundtrack playing in the background.

King visit to The Africa Centre
The King heard about the role the centre plays in connecting Africans in the UK to the global diaspora on key issues (Jack Hill/The Times/PA)

He also spoke in private to a group of leading figures from the African community, including Lord Boateng and Nigerian High Commissioner Sarafa Tunji Isola, on a range of issues.

He was given some insight into the impact of climate change in Africa, which has been hit by life-threatening floods and an increasing exhaustion of its natural resources.

Nzube Ufodike, a trustee at The Africa Centre, described the King’s visit as being like “a pat on the back” for the work that is being done by the organisation.

He said: “It is almost a pat on the back in a way and telling us that we are going in the right direction, that we are seen and that the work we are doing is of some value within our communities.

“It is a sort of acknowledgement in my view of the work we are trying to do and also what we have done so far.”

He added: “It is a privilege to be within spaces that can help further the African narrative, that can help champion the African cause and help champion people of African descent who are trying to do more within our communities.”