September 23, 2019

Duchess of Sussex tells South Africa: I am here as a mother, as a wife, as a woman of colour, and as your sister
The Duchess of Sussex has begun the royal tour of South Africa with a speech condemning the scourge of violence against women, telling members of a township community she is there as a "woman of colour and as your sister".  The Duchess, speaking to a crowd in an area known as the "murder capital" of the country, urged women to fight for "respect, dignity and equality" after watching girls take a self-defence class.  In a two-minute-long address, she said: "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 I am here as a mother, as a wife, as a woman, as a woman of colour, and as your sister." The Duke and Duchess both delivered speeches at their first official engagement of the trip, in the Nyanga township where they hugged children and joined in with dancing.  The Duke spoke of his pride at returning to the country with his wife and son, Archie Mountbatten-Windsor, as he also made a public intervention about gender-based violence, saying: "No man is born to cause harm to women this is learned behaviour and a cycle that needs to be broken." Saying progress would be made through "redefining masculinity", he added: "Your strength is in your spirit, which for me means honouring and protecting my wife, and being a positive role model for my son." Meghan, Duchess of Sussex receives a hug from a young wellwisher as she visits a Justice Desk initiative in Nyanga township Credit: Chris Jackson After meeting local children and hearing from charity The Justice Project, the couple were cheered enthusiastically as they made speeches with notes.  The Duchess said: "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. Meghan dances in South Africa Credit: Samir Hussein "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. Duchess of Sussex meets South African women during a visit to Nyanga township Credit: Rex "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. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex dance as they visit a Justice Desk initiative in Nyanga township Credit: Chris Jackson "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. Meghan speaks in South Africa Credit: Rex "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 [togetherness] and I look forward to our time over the next few days together." The Duke also used his first speech to highlight the issue of gender-based violence, saying the cycle "needs to be broken".  The Duke and Duchess of Sussex prepare to make their speeches Credit: Getty "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.  "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. The Duchess of Sussex with the women of The Justice Desk Credit: Rex "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. "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." He added: "Meghan and I are truly inspired by your resilience, your spirit, your sense of community, and your belief in a better future for everyone here. Harry and Meghan arrive in Nyanga Credit: Getty "I applaud you for the movement. And we know that you haven’t been heard before, but change is coming, now is the time to come together as a community, and we applaud those of you who are leading the way for South Africa’s ongoing transformation." The Sussexes first official stop was in Nyanga township in Cape Town, where specialist British police have spent months scouting to ensure the safety of the Duke and Duchess. Its location could not be disclosed until this morning for fear of jeopardising the Royal visit to a church and children’s centre. Prince Harry meets children in Nyanga township Credit: PA As they arrived, the Duke and Duchess were greeted by local musicians and dancers under the beaming sun, holding hands as they walked passed the media to meet representatives of The Justice Desk. A small boy held his arms up as the Duchess said "hello", before she enveloped him in a hug. Prince Harry, meanwhile, joined in with children dancing.  Harry has all the moves! pic.twitter.com/Na84sWJHtg— Emily Nash (@emynash) September 23, 2019 Meghan wore a £69 monochrome dress by Mayamiko, an "ethical and sustainable woman's wear and life style brand" from Malawi. The company provides training in sewing and business skills to disadvantaged women, many of whom have or care for a child who has HIV.  Jessica Dewhurst, who founded The Justice Desk, an award-winning human rights organisation which is working in the district, said:  "To hear her [Meghan] 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." The Township Official police figures show almost 1,500 people were murdered in Nyanga over the past five years, including 289 last year. Hours before the visit, South African police announced they were hunting a gunman on the loose in Nyanga, who had shot at officers on patrol on Saturday and then fled. The ‘notorious’ township has the highest murder rate in a country plagued by violence and is described in local media as South Africa’s murder capital. Dancers in Nyanga Credit: Reuters Diplomatic sources said British close protection police had been working with South African counterparts for several months to ensure the family’s security. Cape Town’s sprawling shanty towns, that stretch along the notorious Cape Flats, are so dangerous, that in July 1,300 South African soldiers were deployed in an attempt  to keep the peace among warring gangs. Latest official figures show murders in the Western Cape, which includes Cape Town, rose to nearly 4,000 in the year up to April 2019. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex arrive at their first engagement Credit: Reuters Nynaga is around two sq miles in size, is situated 16 miles east of the centre of Cape Town, and has a population of around 200,000. The decision to go to the township - having first dropped off Archie at an undisclosed residence following an 11-hour commercial flight - signifies the Sussexes determination to be taken seriously. The workshop they visit teaches children self-defence and provides “female empowerment training to young girls”. The workshop is run by The Justice Desk, a non-profit organisation which is supported by the Queen’s Commonwealth Trust, of which the Duke serves as president and the Duchess as vice-president. Video: a little boy here at the community centre wanted to show harry his drawing, which was v sweet. Lots of hugs here from Harry & Meghan to staff, kids and locals who all work with @queenscomtrust which, of course, H&M; are Pres & VP. A great start to RoyalVisitSouthAfrica ���� pic.twitter.com/c9kf3yH67m— Emily Andrews (@byEmilyAndrews) September 23, 2019 The Duke and Duchess will first arrive at Nyanga Methodist Church where they will meet Jessica Dewhurst, the Justice Desk founder, and Theodora Luthuli, a community leader with the charity. The Royal couple will observe the Mbokodo Girls’ Empowerment programme, which teaches self-defence classes to girls who have suffered “major trauma”. The project’s motto is ‘waithint’ abafazi wathint’imbokodo’ (when you strike a women; you strike a rock). District 6 Museum From the township the Duke and Duchess will visit District 6 Museum, which highlights the injustices of the apartheid era. There is already controversy over the visit with one community leader calling on the Duke to apologise for what he claimed was Britain’s role in helping to create the apartheid system. The children of The Justice Project Credit: Reuters Shahied Ajam, chairman of the District Six Working Committee, said: “Prince Harry is a representative of a former colonial power that was the architect of what transpired in District Six. Forced removals and the other apartheid evils had their roots in colonialism. The English don’t have a good history in South Africa. They enforced and implemented segregation.” Mr Ajam also complained his organisation, representing 3,000 families forcibly removed from their homes in Cape Town’s District 6 and who want to return there, had not been invited to today’s visit. From the museum, The Duke and Duchess will walk to the nearby District 6 Homecoming Centre, which provides a meeting place for former residents of the area. In 1966, the partheid regime declared District 6 a whites-only area and forcibly relocated 60,000 residents to townships in Cape Flats that include Nyanga.  Archie Mountbatten- Windsor has begun his first overseas tour Credit: AFP At the Homecoming Centre, the couple will meet former residents and prepare some food which they will share in “a community cooking activity to showcase… the cultural diversity of the area”. The event will be the last of the day with the Royal couple returning to their base in Cape Town to be reunited with Archie. Archie on tour As they arrived in South Africa, the couple were photographed with baby Archie Mountbatten-Windsor walking down the steps of a commercial flight into Cape Town with the baby well wrapped up for his journey. Cradled in his mother's arms, Archie wore a bobble hat and warm sleep suit to keep out the strong wind. The royals landed in Africa on a British Airways flight that arrived almost 40 minutes late, and were flanked by staff in high visibility jackets, one with the initials VIP on the back. As they disembarked ahead of their first appearance in the city this afternoon, they waved to wellwishers before travelling to their accommodation to settle Archie in. Buckingham Palace has acknowledged the difficulties of organising an intrepid tour that takes in four countries in ten days. The Duchess and Archie will remain in South Africa while the Duke flies to Botswana, Angola and Malawi before rejoining his wife in Johannesburg at the end of the trip. Factoring in Archie has added to the complications, the Palace admitted on Sunday.. Meghan at the Hubb Community Kitchen Credit: Getty A spokesman said: “We have an extra special small passenger to make things more lively.” Archie is expected to feature at some point in the tour but Royal watchers may have to wait until day three on Wednesday when the Duchess visits the mothers2mothers charity, which trains and employs women with HIV.  Archie’s hand-me-down clothes and toys are expected to be donated to the Cape Town charity. It would be the ideal opportunity for Archie to make his presence felt on the tour. Archie will be looked after by a nanny when the Duke and Duchess are on official duties.
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