Meghan Markle Stands Up For Women’s Rights In A Country Where They’re Under Attack

Photo: Karwai Tang/WireImage.
Once again, Meghan Markle is using her royal title for good. As a part of her royal tour, the Duchess of Sussex is meeting with South African lawmakers, educators, and activists alike to learn about the struggles women in the country face — and educate others about the women who have pushed for change.
Meghan shared that on Thursday, she hosted an event honoring women, including Sophia Williams-De Bruyn, an anti-apartheid activist who led 20,000 women in a 1956 human rights protest; Nompendulo Mkatshwa, one of the youngest women in Parliament; and Professor Mamokgethi Phakeng, the first Black female South African to get a Ph.D in mathematics education. “Issues of gender inequality affect women throughout the world, independent of race, color, creed, or socioeconomic background,” Meghan wrote on the Sussex Royal Instagram account. “In sitting down with these forward thinkers, it was abundantly clear it is not enough to simply hope for a better future; the only way forward is ‘hope in action.’”
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Meghan and Prince Harry arrived for their royal tour of South Africa on Tuesday, and have been as busy as you might expect. But between meeting Desmond Tutu and touring landmarks including the Auwal Mosque, Meghan has been prioritizing issues such as gender-based violence. On Saturday, she visited the site of 19-year-old Uyinene Mrwetyana’s murder and shared that she had spoken with Mrwetyana’s mother. Following her killing last month, women mobilized in Cape Town to take a stand against femicide, and, according to Sussex Royal, “Visiting the site of this tragic death and being able to recognize Uyinene, and all the women and girls [affected] by GBV...was personally important to the Duchess.”
Meghan has always taken a down-to-earth approach when it comes to her position, and this trip has been no different. After arriving in Nyanga, Meghan said, “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 color and as your sister.”
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“On Thursday we convened a meeting of minds - a group of women ranging from a legendary anti-apartheid activist, female parliamentarians, professors, educators and policy makers to discuss the rights of women in South Africa. In the lead up to this tour it weighed heavily on my heart to see the countless violations against women, and I wanted to spend my time on the ground learning about the situation at hand. One of the guests, Sophia Williams-De Bruyn was just 18 years old when in 1956 she led 20,000 women to march on the Union Buildings in Pretoria in protest of apartheid pass laws. She is the last living leader of the march, and today, a symbol of those who fight for fundamental human rights - For her it is simple - she fights for what is right. Issues of gender inequality affect women throughout the world, independent of race, color, creed, or socioeconomic background. In the last week I’ve met with women from all walks of life - religious leaders such as the first female rabbi in Capetown, grassroots leaders in Nyanga at Mbokodo, community activists, parliamentarians, and so many more. In sitting down with these forward thinkers, it was abundantly clear - it is not enough to simply hope for a better future; the only way forward is “hope in action.” I’m eager to spend the next few days in South Africa continuing to learn, listen and absorb the resilience and optimism I’ve felt here.“ -Her Royal Highness, The Duchess of Sussex

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Today, September 29, Meghan and Harry met with a group of women who attended school through the Campaign for Female Education (Camfed) and its alumni network, CAMA. The network of 140,000 women works to directly bring communities out of poverty and help send girls to school. “CAMA and [Camfed] are changing the lives of many young girls [through] education and empowerment,” wrote the Sussex Royal account — and it doesn’t get much more Meghan than that.
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