Duchess Meghan made a secret visit to the spot where a South African student was brutally murdered last week and left a touching note on behalf of herself and Prince Harry. She also revealed several other meetings she has quietly held over the last two days while her husband has been in Botswana and Angola.
On Sept. 26, the Duchess of Sussex travelled to see a memorial to Uyinene Mrwetyana, 19, a University of Cape Town student whose brutal slaying has shocked South Africa. While there, Meghan left a note written in Xhosa that was said to be in calligraphic script.
On Sept. 28, Meghan shared an image of her tying a ribbon around the post office stoop on the SussexRoyal Instagram account.
“Simi kunye kulesisimo – ‘We stand together in this moment,’” the caption read.
“The Duchess of Sussex has tied a ribbon at the site where 19-year-old Cape Town student Uyinene Mrwetyana was murdered last month, to pay her respects and to show solidarity with those who have taken a stand against gender based violence and femicide. Over the last month in Capetown [sic], protests erupted through the streets in outrage over GBV in South Africa. The Duke and Duchess had been following what had happened from afar and were both eager to learn more when they arrived in South Africa. The Duchess spoke to the mother of Uyinene this week to relay their condolences."
Meghan also revealed she has had a series of secret visits during the royal tour so she can “deepen her understanding of the current situation and continue to advocate for the rights of women and girls.”
The post said travelling to the site of Uyinene’s death was “personally important” to Meghan who has made dealing with gender-based violence a priority in her work.
“Uyinene’s death has mobilised people across South Africa in the fight against gender based violence, and is taken as a critical point in the future of women’s rights in South Africa,” the post continues. “The Duchess has taken private visits and meetings over the last two days to deepen her understanding of the current situation and continue to advocate for the rights of women and girls. Fore more information on the recent events in South Africa, please see link in bio. #AmINext”
Uyinene was beaten to death after being tortured and murdered, and her slaying has left South Africa outraged and appalled. According to the Mirror, Meghan reportedly told her staff she was so upset by what happened to Uyinene that she wanted to make time in her incredibly busy schedule for a small gesture in her memory.
Powerful words to the women and girls of South Africa facing gender-based violence from Meghan: “I’m here with you as a mother, a wife, a woman, a woman of colour, as your sister” #RoyalVisitSouthAfrica#sussexroyaltour pic.twitter.com/ANhaxzIDOb
— Emily Nash (@emynash) September 23, 2019
Royal watchers will remember that when Meghan and Harry arrived in South Africa, Meghan’s first speech during their 10-day royal tour addressed violence against women and girls. She and Harry visited The Justice Desk, which offers self-defence training for women and girls in Cape Town. The organization’s motto is wathint’abafazi wathint’imbokodo,” which means, “when you strike a woman, you strike a rock” in Xhosa.
“The rights of women and girls is something that is very close to my heart, and the cause I have spent the majority of my life advocating for because I know that when women are empowered, the entire community flourishes,” Meghan said at the beginning of her speech.
“I read a quote a few weeks ago and it resonated with me as I’ve been watching what’s been happening here and your efforts. Maya Angelou, the legendary poet and civil rights activist, once said, ‘Each time a woman stands up for herself, without knowing it, possibly without claiming it, she stands up for all women.’”
Harry spent Sept. 26 in Botswana, where he planted trees with children at Chobe National Park, and was given a demonstration by the Botswana Defence Forces about how they are dealing with poaching in the area.
On Sept. 27, he travelled to Angola, where he followed in his late mother Princess Diana’s footsteps by walking through a minefield in Dirico. He later visited the site of her famous 1997 walk through a minefield in Huambo. The area is now a bustling street named after her, with shops, homes and schools.
The 35-year-old then travelled to an orthopedic hospital Diana visited in the city and renamed it in her honour before he went to the capital of Luanda and reunited with Sandra Tigica, a landmine survivor who met his mother in Angola when she was just 16 years old and has since named one of her children after Diana.
Harry will return to South Africa in October, and will reunite with Meghan for a series of engagements on Oct. 1 before their tour wraps the next day.