The Duchess of Sussex told teenage girls in a township known as ‘South Africa’s murder capital’ that she is visiting them as a ‘woman of colour and their sister’ in a rousing speech on the first day of her and her husband’s latest royal tour.
Meghan and Harry are visiting Nyanga, where one in 206 people are killed each year, just outside of Cape Town, today after touching down at the airport this morning.
The couple’s visit to the troubled township has been arranged amid a major security presence, with details kept secret until the last minute to prevent any unrest and four-month-old Archie left behind at their residence with his nanny.
Meghan, 38, stood on a tree stump to address crowds of local women and girls supported by community charity Justice Desk.
Referring to her racial heritage for the first time since becoming a member of the royal family, she said: ‘May I just say that while I am 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, as a woman of colour and as your sister.’
Meghan and her husband, 35, were seen dancing and laughing with locals on the first stop of their 10-day tour of Africa.
Meghan is pictured giving a speech to crowds in Nyanga, often described as South Africa’s ‘murder capital’ this afternoon
Meghan and her husband, 35, were seen dancing and laughing with locals on the first stop of their 10-day tour of Africa
The Duchess addressed crowds of women and girls stood on a tree stump as she wore a Justice Desk charity bracelet
The Duchess, 38, stood on a tree stump as she made a speech surrounded by Justice Desk female boxers
Harry (left) and Megan (centre) are pictured arriving in Cape Town this morning with baby their son Archie
The Duke of Sussex is pictured beaming as a smiling Meghan follows behind with four-month-old Archie in her arms as they get off their British Airways flight in Cape Town this morning
The Duchess wore a dress designed by the sustainable Malawi-based fashion brand Mayamiko and the couple sported matching ‘Justice Desk’ beaded bracelets as they shook hands with beaming locals.
Meghan’s speech in full
Hello! It is such privilege to meet all of you today and to start our visit, my first time in South Africa, here in Nyanga.
We have just spent some time seeing all the incredible work that the Justice Desk does and of course all of you amazing women and the men who are here helping you, Mbokodo, you are incredible and what you’re doing is so powerful, because you’re all powerful.
The work that’s being done here is to keep women and children safer, which is needed now more than ever. This is an issue that’s been at the forefront of people’s minds here in South Africa, and of course across the globe, particularly over this past month.
Please know that my husband and I have been closely following what you’ve been experiencing here – as best we can from afar. But now that we are with you, we are eager to learn and see first-hand the work that you’re doing, the vital work that you’re doing, and that everything that is being done on the ground is making the great change that you not only need but that you deserve.
You have welcomed us into this community, have been open and honest with us, both about the dangers women and children face, and about how you are addressing them. 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.
So to be able to meet all of you today who are standing up for what’s right in the face of adversity, I applaud you. We are encouraged to hear your President take the next steps to work towards preventing gender-based violence through education and necessary changes to reinforce the values of modern South Africa.
I do have to say I feel incredibly humbled to be in the presence of all of you as you stand firm in your core values of respect, dignity and equality.
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 active 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.’
Now I know it’s not easy and I know it must feel insurmountable at times, but your commitment to what is right gives all of us hope, especially your brothers and sisters here in your community who need you to continue to shine your light brightly. Your commitment is inspiring, it is energising and it is extraordinary. You must keep going, you must know that what you’re doing not only matters, it is vital because YOU are vital.
And just on one personal note, may I just say that while I am 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, as a woman of colour and as your sister. 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 and I look forward to our time over the next few days together. Thank you so much for having us.’
Quoting poet and civil rights activist Maya Angelou, Meghan said in her speech: ‘Each time a woman stands up for herself, without knowing it, possibly without claiming it, she stands up for all women.’
‘Now I know it’s not easy and I know it must feel insurmountable at times, but your commitment to what is right gives all of us hope, especially your brothers and sisters here in your community who need you to continue to shine your light brightly.
‘Your commitment is inspiring, it is energising and it is extraordinary. You must keep going, you must know that what you’re doing not only matters, it is vital because YOU are vital.’
She said she felt ‘humbled’ to be in the Nyanga community’s presence, as they stood firm in their ‘values of respect, dignity and equality’.
The Duchess continued: ‘The work that’s being done here is to keep women and children safer, which is needed now more than ever.
‘This is an issue that’s been at the forefront of people’s minds here in South Africa, and of course across the globe, particularly over this past month.
‘Please know that my husband and I have been closely following what you’ve been experiencing here – as best we can from afar.
‘But now that we are with you, we are eager to learn and see first-hand the work that you’re doing, the vital work that you’re doing, and that everything that is being done on the ground is making the great change that you not only need but that you deserve.
‘You have welcomed us into this community, have been open and honest with us, both about the dangers women and children face, and about how you are addressing them.
‘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.
‘So to be able to meet all of you today who are standing up for what’s right in the face of adversity, I applaud you. We are encouraged to hear your President take the next steps to work towards preventing gender-based violence through education and necessary changes to reinforce the values of modern South Africa.’
Jessica Dewhurst, who founded the Justice Desk, an award winning human rights organisation which is working in the district, said: ‘ We feed people but we never ask why they are hungry in the first place. We are trying to fix the problem, not just put a plaster on it. I think that really resonated with Prince Harry.
‘Meghan is so nice. In the room she and Harry met a lot of victims of gender-based violence and they shared their stories with them. It was really wonderful to have that openness and that honesty.
‘I think she was really impressed with the spirit of the girls, the girls supporting other girls. She was encouraging them to mentor other girls in the community.
‘To hear her say she was standing her as a woman of colour sent shivers down my spine.
‘To be totally honest with you, when I heard that they wanted to say something I just thought it would be a ‘thank you for having us, goodbye’.
‘But they tackled some real issues there. They spoke about gender based violence and the issues our community is facing.
‘What’s also really exciting is that they are watching what is happening in our country and listening to what our president is saying. They are really encouraging us as South Africans to be accountable and to facilitate change.
I think it’s so fantastic. A lot of people think the Commonwealth is just the Commonwealth , but we have received real support from them for a number of years. This is the cherry on the cake.
‘They are such a lovely couple. He was constantly making sure she was ok. When she was carrying something he offered to carry it for her, which I thought was so sweet, but she was just like ‘no, I can carry it. It’s fine! ‘ They were just bouncing off each other.
‘They are a really good unit, they believe in the same things and that’s really powerful. I think They give each other energy to do what they do. They were supporting each other when they are hearing some harrowing stories. ‘
Meghan and Harry arrived in Cape Town with baby Archie in her arms 40 minutes late this morning following their overnight British Airways flight from London.
Beaming, Meghan, 38, was pictured carrying four-month-old Archie, who sported an adorable bobble hat for the occasion. The young royal bore a striking resemblance to his father, who was pictured wearing a similar hat in the arms of his mother, Diana.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are pictured beaming as they are surrounded by dancing girls from the Nyanga township near Cape Town this afternoon
Having a whale of a time! Meghan beamed as she danced with local girls in Nyanga this afternoon
Joining in the fun! Harry also got a dance with a local woman as the couple made quite the impression on the Nyanga community
Meghan was taken by the hands by a local dancer who beamed as she boogied with the Duchess as husband Harry looked on
Smiles all round: Meghan laughs and smiles as she dances hand-in-hand with a young woman from Nyanga
Harry, 35, yesterday said he ‘couldn’t wait’ to introduce his son to Africa ahead of the trip this morning.
Nyanga, whose name means ‘moon’ in the local dialect of Xhosa, is one of the oldest black townships in Cape Town and was established in 1946 as a result of the migrant labour system.
Nowadays, unemployment is well above 50 per cent and HIV/Aids is a huge community issue.
Although residents were active in joining the national protests against the apartheid laws passed in 1960, it has become notorious for black on black violence, which was exploited by the local police.
The Duchess of Sussex stoops down to hug a Nyanga schoolboy as the couple arrive in the troubled township for today’s visit
Harry and Meghan (pictured greeting school children) are visiting Nyanga in the Cape Flats just outside of Cape Town today where one in 206 people are killed each year, as the first stop on their 10-day tour of Africa
Harry beams as he kneels down to say hello to a schoolboy waiting to greet him in Nyanga, near Cape Town, South Africa
Crime is still rampant, despite many admirable community initiatives, not only having the highest murder rate in the country but topping the lists for car jacking and having a reputation for house robbery. Last year there were a reported 308 murders.
The couple are visiting a Justice Desk initiative in Nyanga township, which teaches children about their rights, self-awareness and safety, and provides self-defence classes and female empowerment training to young girls in the community.
The Justice Desk is an NGO supported by The Queen’s Commonwealth Trust, of which Harry serves as President and Meghan as Vice-President.
To date, the Justice Desk has directly assisted over 35,000 individuals, schools and communities.
The Sussexes remained close to one another as they moved around the area, which is being protected with tight security during their visit
Harry and Meghan are pictured arriving in Nyanga, near Cape Town today, often referred to as South Africa’s ‘murder capital’
Meghan and Harry prepared to make separate speeches as they clutched notes before heading to the stage
Harry kept his hand tightly around Meghan’s as the pair moved through Nyanga, South Africa’s most dangerous township
Harry couldn’t hide his delight as he knelt down to say hello to a Nyanga schoolboy who gave him a drawing to welcome him and Meghan to his community
Harry is pictured grabbing the Justice Desk T-shirt of a young member of the Nyanga community who waited to greet him
The little boy had his face painted and wore a T-shirt with the slogan ‘Children’s rights matter!’ as he greeted Prince Harry
Admiration: Meghan looks up at one of the Charity Desk bosses surrounded by local children wearing T-shirts that read: ‘Children’s rights matter! I’m not too young to be heard’
Meghan is pictured shaking hands with a member of the Nyanga community as women from the township crowd around her
Meghan is seen crouching down to take the hand of a local woman in Nyanga, where the royal couple are visiting today
An excitable Meghan giggled as she was greeted by dozens of local women in Nyanga today
Holding hands: Meghan and Harry made their way through Nyanga together before being introduced to local school children
Meghan is pictured speaking to a Justice Desk charity worker, who works with children in Nyanga to help them know their rights and defend themselves against rampant crime
Meghan wore a dress designed by the sustainable Malawi-based fashion brand Mayamiko and the couple wore matching ‘Justice Desk’ beaded bracelets
The couple beamed as they were presented with gifts from the charity Justice Desk, which hosted the first stop on their visit
The Sussexes are pictured being greeted by Justice Desk volunteers as schoolchildren wait to give them their welcomes
Nyanga school children waited patiently for the royals to arrive as they clutched South African flags and other banners
Waiting for the royals: Two women from the Nyanga township near Cape Town are pictured waiting with flags at the side of the road
Primary school children in Nyanga gathered to greet the royals this morning, with an impressive display of traditional dancing
Members of the Nyanga community gathered to watch dancers entertain as they prepared to welcome Harry and Meghan
Timeline of Royal tour
Monday, September 23
The tour begins in a township in Cape Town where Prince Harry and Meghan will view a workshop that teaches children about their rights, self-awareness and safety.
Their Royal Highnesses will later tour the District Six Museum before joining a community cooking activity with former residents of the area.
Tuesday, September 24
Their Royal Highnesses will travel to Monwabisi Beach to learn about the work of ‘Waves for Change’, an NGO which trains surf mentors to provide mental health services to young people.
In the afternoon, The Duke and Duchess will visit the Bo Kaap area to mark Heritage Day. They will visit Auwal mosque, the oldest mosque in the country, and later have a cup of tea with local residents.
Wednesday, September 25
The Duke and Duchess will meet Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Mrs Tutu at their legacy foundation.
From here, Their Royal Highnesses’ programme will split – The Duke will travel onwards to Botswana while The Duchess remains in South Africa.
Thursday, September 26
The Duke will begin his working visit to Botswana, first travelling to Chobe Forest Tree Reserve.
The party will then depart for Angola. His Royal Highness will spend the evening of 26th September at a new HALO Trust demining camp.
Friday, September 27
The Duke will visit to a working de-mining field outside Dirico. His Royal Highness will then travel to Huambo, beginning his first visit to Angola in an official capacity.
He will proceed to the Huambo Orthopaedic Centre, also visited by his mother in 1997.
Saturday, September 28
The Duke will have an Audience with President Lourenço at the Presidential Palace. He will then visit the Maternity Hospital Lucrécia Paim to see the work of a project which focuses on preventing HIV/AIDS transmission from mothers to babies.
His Royal Highness will then travel to Malawi for the next leg of his tour.
Sunday, September 29
The Duke will visit Nalikule College of Education and interact with a network of young women who are supported to attend and complete secondary school with the help of UKAid bursaries through the Campaign for Female Education.
He will then attend an Audience with the President Peter Mutharika who he has met on previous occasions.
Monday, September 30
His Royal Highness will fly to Liwonde National Park. There, The Duke will pay tribute at the memorial site for Guardsman Mathew Talbot of the Coldstream Guards, who lost his life in May 2019 on a joint anti-poaching patrol with local park rangers.
The Duke will then proceed to the Liwonde National Park Headquarters to receive a briefing on operations.
Tuesday, October 1
The Duke will tour Mauwa Health Centre and then depart Malawi for South Africa. Meanwhile, on October 1. Her Royal Highness will attend a roundtable discussion with the Association of Commonwealth Universities in Johannesburg.
Following The Duke of Sussex’s arrival from Malawi later that evening, Their Royal Highnesses will resume their joint programme in Johannesburg.
Wednesday, October 2
Their Royal Highnesses will visit a township near Johannesburg. Later that day, they will meet with Mrs Graça Machel, widow of the late former President Mandela.
The Duke and Duchess will together attend an afternoon Reception to celebrate the UK and South Africa’s important business and investment relationship, looking ahead to the Africa Investment Summit the UK will host in 2020.
To close the tour, Their Royal Highnesses will attend an audience with President Cyril Ramaphosa and his wife Dr Tshepo Motsepe. Their Royal Highnesses will depart for London that evening.
On arrival at Nyanga Methodist Church, the Duke and Duchess met Jessica Dewhurst, Justice Desk Founder and Queen’s Young Leader, and Theodora Luthuli, Justice Desk Community Leader.
Jessica took them on a walking tour of various activities taking place.
Moving into the learning centre, Theodora then introduced the couple to her mother and the centre’s founder, Sylvia Hobe.
Their Royal Highnesses then observed the Mbokodo Girls’ Empowerment programme, which provides self-defence classes and female empowerment training to young girls who have suffered major trauma.
The project’s motto is, ‘waithint’ abafazi wathint’imbokodo’ – when you strike a women; you strike a rock.
The session begun with the students reciting ‘Our Deepest Fear,’ the club’s anthem, and then the girls will then break off into four training groups.
Harry and Meghan was escorted around the groups by and learn about the purpose of each of the activities, before coming back together to form a circle where the girls had an opportunity to have a discussion with them privately.
Afterwards, Their Royal Highnesses left the learning centre, followed by the girls singing their team anthem.
Harry and Meghan, unusually, mad a short address each, followed by a presentation of a gift from the Justice Desk, and a group photo, before departing.
Tomorrow morning, their Royal Highnesses will travel to Monwabisi Beach to learn about the work of ‘Waves for Change’, an NGO which trains and supports local surf mentors to provide mental health services to young people.
The Duke and Duchess will also see the work of The Lunchbox Fund, one of four charities to benefit from donations made by the public to celebrate the birth of their son Archie.
They will also meet Dr Thomas Maes, who is leading the Commonwealth Litter Programme launched at the London Commonwealth Summit in 2018, in support of the Commonwealth Blue Charter.
The Duke will then join the City of Cape Town Marine Unit to travel by boat to Seal Island, Kalk Bay, to learn about the important role they play in combatting the poaching of abalone, considered one of South Africa’s most significant illegal wildlife trade concerns.
As Captain General of the Royal Marines, His Royal Highness will be accompanied by two members of the Royal Marines who have been providing capacity building and skills training to the Marine Unit.
In the afternoon, The Duke and Duchess will visit the Bo Kaap area to mark Heritage Day, a celebration of the great diversity of cultures, beliefs and traditions that make up the rainbow nation of South Africa.
Their Royal Highnesses will visit Auwal mosque, the oldest mosque in the country, where they will meet representatives from different faith groups to hear about the strength of interfaith dialogue in Cape Town.
Afterwards, the Duke and Duchess will visit local residents who will host them for a cup of tea in their home.
Their Royal Highnesses will conclude the day by attending a Reception at the British High Commissioner’s Residence, where they will meet inspiring opinion formers and young future leaders.
Violent crime is so deadly in parts of Cape Town that South Africa’s military has been deployed in the city, and its stay was extended last week.
The couple arrived in a South Africa still shaken by the rape and murder of a university student, carried out in a post office, that sparked protests by thousands of women tired of abuse and impunity in a country where more than 100 rapes are reported every day.
This is ‘one of the most unsafe places in the world to be a woman,’ President Cyril Ramaphosa said last week, announcing new emergency measures and vowing to be tougher on perpetrators.
While the royal visit wasn’t causing the kind of excitement seen at times in other parts of the Commonwealth, some in South Africa said they were happy to see the arrival of Meghan, who has been vocal about women’s rights.
A map shows the different stops on Meghan and Harry’s 10-day tour of Africa, their first with four-month-old son Archie
Nyanga: The ‘murder capital’ of South Africa
Nyanga is one of the oldest black townships in Cape Town, established in 1946 under the Apartheid migrant labour system. Its name means ‘moon’ in the local dialect of Xhosa.
In 1948 migrants were forced to settle in Nyanga as nearby Langa became too small.
It is situated along the N2 highway close to the city’s only airport, Cape Town International, and other deprived townships of Gugulethu and Crossroads.
It is known as the ‘murder capital’ of South Africa, with an average of one in 206 people killed each year.
There has been 6.2 per cent decrease in the number of murder cases in the area for the year 2018/2019, but still remains the most deadly in the country. It also has a reputation for car-jacking and robberies.
Harry and Meghan’s first stop – Nyanga (pictured) – is considered South Africa’s ‘murder capital’ where one in 206 people are killed each year
Unemployment is currently well above 50 per cent and HIV/AIDS continues to be hugely prevalent.
Nyanga residents were active in joining the national protests against apartheid laws passed in 1960, but later became notorious for black-on-black violence after tensions were ramped up by local police.
They were also heavily involved in the 1976 student uprisings triggered after Afrikaans became South Africa’s first official language in schools.
Black-on-black faction fighting continued into the 1980s, when police officers were accused of exacerbating tensions along community lines.
Nyanga is made up of nine smaller townships (Lusaka, KTC, Old Location, Maumau, Zwelitsha, Maholweni ‘Hostels’, Black City, White City, Barcelona, Kanana and Europe).
Nyanga (residents pictured) is one of the oldest black townships in Cape Town, established in 1946 under the Apartheid migrant labour system
Just like Dad! Archie dons a sweet knitted bobble hat for his arrival in South Africa that looks VERY similar to one worn by Prince Harry for a flight with Princess Diana in 1985
By Stephanie Linning for MailOnline
Archie Mountbatten-Windsor looked adorable in a hat that looked just like one worn by his father Prince Harry as the Sussexes arrived in South Africa this morning.
The five-month-old royal was wrapped up in a navy baby grow and a cream bobble hat as he was carried down the airplane steps by his mother the Duchess of Sussex.
Eagle-eyed royal fans were quick to point out that Archie’s hat looked strikingly similar to one worn by Prince Harry as a baby.
Archie’s bobble hat bears a striking resemblance to the one Prince Harry wore as a toddler in January 2001. He is pictured with his mother Princess Diana getting off a plane at Aberdeen Airport
Harry and Meghan rip up the etiquette rule book for South Africa trip
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are known for their laid-back approach to official engagements – and their royal tour of Africa will be no exception, royal insiders have claimed.
Prince Harry, 35, and Meghan Markle, 38, have ripped up the etiquette rule book for their 10-day visit, eschewing formal greetings and relaxing the requirements for how they are addressed, according to Vanity Fair.
The couple arrived in Cape Town with five-month-old Archie this morning to kick off the first leg of their first royal tour as a family.
Speaking to Vanity Fair, a royal source claimed Meghan and Harry are keen to meet as many South Africans as possible during their engagements – and want their outings to be as relaxed as possible, despite heightened security measures.
‘It’s very much how they want things done,’ the source said. ‘There is no protocol that says you have to bow or curtsy when you meet them, it’s really up to the individual.’
The then six-month-old Prince looked sweet in a head-to-toe knitted cream outfit as he was carried off the plane at Aberdeen airport by his mother Princess Diana in March 1985.
The apparent tribute was praised by fans, who said it brought back ‘great memories’ of Prince Harry as a child.
One wrote: ‘Love when they channel past looks!’ Another posted: ‘So alike in these pics!’
Noticing the similarities extended beyond their wardrobes, another royal watcher added: ‘Archie is 100% his father’.
The Sussexes arrived 40 minutes late into Cape Town this morning after taking a British Airways overnight flight from London.
While the couple opted to forgo a formal welcome, photos of their arrival have emerged – offering royal watchers their first glimpse of Archie on the tour.
Beaming Meghan, 38, was pictured carrying four-month-old Archie, who sported an adorable bobble hat for the occasion.
Harry, 34, yesterday said they ‘can’t wait’ to introduce their son to Africa. They added that the 10-day tour is likely to be ‘more lively’ then usual with baby Archie joining them for the first time.
The Sussexes are set to undertake their first official tour as a family of three, starting and ending their trip with engagements in impoverished townships in Cape Town and Johannesburg.
In between Harry will visit Botswana, Angola and Malawi, leaving his wife and young son in Cape Town for five days as the small propeller plane he will be travelling isn’t child friendly. The family will be reunited in Johannesburg for the last leg on their trip.