Meghan Markle Said She Is Visiting South Africa "As A Woman Of Colour And As Your Sister" And The Crowd Loved It
"While I’m here with my husband as a member of the royal family, I want you to know that for me, I am here with you as a mother, as a wife, as a woman of colour, and as your sister."
Prince Harry and his wife Meghan Markle kicked off their first official tour as a family with powerful speeches in South Africa about masculinity and gender violence.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex spent the day in the Nyanga township in Cape Town to learn about the Justice Desk initiative, which teaches children about their rights and provides self-defence classes and female empowerment training to young girls.
The two speeches, delivered separately, made a strong statement about the kind of work the royal couple intends to pursue and the brand they want to create for themselves.
The Duchess of Sussex used the opportunity to address the significance of the visit because of her own African heritage, telling the crowd that she was there not only as a representative of the royal family, but also "as a woman of colour and as your sister".
To whoops and cheers, the duchess said: "While I’m here with my husband as a member of the royal family, I want you to know that for me, I am here with you as a mother, as a wife, as a woman of colour, and as your sister."
She added: "I am here with you and I am here for you and I thank you so much for showing my husband and I the spirit of ubuntu [humanity] and I look forward to our time over the next few days together."
Markle also shared a quote from the late Maya Angelou that she said she had been reflecting on: "Each time a woman stands up for herself, without knowing it, possibly without claiming it, she stands up for all women."
She and her husband had spoken with South African President Cyril Ramaphosa to hear about his plans to address gender-based violence through education, she said.
Harry then delivered a personal speech in which he discussed a man's role in tackling gender violence, saying it was time to "redefine masculinity" and how he intends to be a role model for his son Archie.
"We are so incredibly grateful to be able to listen and learn from you about the issues that define your daily lives in these communities. And that’s what this is, a community. A community where men and women have a vital role to play. Touching on what your president said last week — no man is born to cause harm to women, this is learned behaviour, and a cycle that needs to be broken," he said.
He went on: "So now, it’s about redefining masculinity, it’s about creating your own footprints for your children to follow in, so that you can make a positive change for the future. To me, the real testament of your strength isn’t physical, it’s what’s up here and what’s in here. Your strength is in your spirit, which for me means honouring and protecting my wife, and being a positive role model for my son."
The couple spent their time in Nyanga — which has South Africa's highest murder rate — meeting well-wishers who seemed happy to interact with the young couple.
The prince, who first visited South Africa when he was 13, has previously spoken about his love for the continent and the significance of making a royal visit with his family.
"As someone who has visited this amazing country many times, and as someone who regards Cape Town as a uniquely special place in Africa, I wanted to ensure that our first visit as a family – with my wife by my side – focused on the significant challenges facing millions of South Africans, while acknowledging the hope that we feel so strongly here," he said.
The visit is the royal couple's first official tour as a family, carried out at the request of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to help "demonstrate a modern UK-Africa partnership in action", a palace statement said.
The tour, which started on Monday, ends on Oct. 2. The duchess will stay in South Africa, but her husband will go on to visit Malawi and Botswana.
Harry will also return to Angola to see firsthand the legacy of his mother, Princess Diana, whose visit to Huambo in 1997 helped raise awareness of the threat posed by landmines to communities and livelihoods.
Throughout their visit, the couple will tackle issues including conservation and sustainable tourism, women's education, and health. Harry and Meghan will also meet with young leaders who are tackling socio-economic and environmental challenges.
And, just in case you were wondering, the gorgeous wrap dress the Duchess of Sussex wore is from fair-trade fashion line Mayamiko, paired with lace-up espadrilles from Castaner.
Prince Harry wore a shirt and trousers.