Monday 21 October 2019

'I stand before you as a woman of colour and as your sister' - Meghan Markle kicks off Africa tour with Harry

Meghan, Duchess of Sussex visits District Six, on the first day of the African tour in Cape Town, South Africa, September 23, 2019. REUTERS/Toby Melville
Meghan, Duchess of Sussex visits District Six, on the first day of the African tour in Cape Town, South Africa, September 23, 2019. REUTERS/Toby Melville
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, Prince Harry and his wife Meghan, arrive at the District Six, on the first day of their African tour in Cape Town, South Africa, September 23, 2019. REUTERS/Toby Melville
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, Prince Harry and his wife Meghan, attend a Justice Desk initiative in Nyanga township, on the first day of their African tour in Cape Town, South Africa, September 23, 2019. Ian Vogler/Pool via REUTERS
The Duchess of Sussex, Meghan, dances during a Justice Desk initiative in Nyanga township, on the first day of her African tour in Cape Town, South Africa, September 23, 2019. REUTERS/Toby Melville
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, Prince Harry and his wife Meghan, are seen during a Justice Desk initiative in Nyanga township, on the first day of their African tour in Cape Town, South Africa, September 23, 2019. Ian Vogler/Pool via REUTERS
The Duchess of Sussex during a visit to the District Six Museum in Cape Town, South Africa, on the first day of a tour of Africa with her husband the Duke of Sussex. PA Photo. Picture date: Monday September 23, 2019. See PA story ROYAL Tour. Photo credit should read: Mark Large/PA Wire
Britain's Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, waves at District Six, on the first day of the African tour in Cape Town, South Africa September 23, 2019. REUTERS/Sumaya Hisham

Laura Elston

Prince Harry and wife Meghan Markle began their first official royal tour as a family yesterday - with their infant son Archie in tow in South Africa.

The first day of their 10-day, multi-country tour started in Cape Town with visits to girls' empowerment projects that teach rights and self-defence.

Speaking on her arrival, Meghan said to cheers: "I am here with you as a mother, as a wife, as a woman, as a woman of colour and as your sister."

The former actress kicked off the tour in a patterned black and white wrap dress by ethical womenswear brand Mayamiko.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex arrive for a visit to the District Six Museum in Cape Town, South Africa, on the first day of their tour of Africa. PA Photo. Picture date: Monday September 23, 2019. See PA story ROYAL Tour. Photo credit should read: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex arrive for a visit to the District Six Museum in Cape Town, South Africa, on the first day of their tour of Africa. PA Photo. Picture date: Monday September 23, 2019. See PA story ROYAL Tour. Photo credit should read: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

She looked stunning with her hair tied in a sleek ponytail as she and Harry arrived at the Nyanga Township.

Mayamiko produces clothes made in Malawi and inspired by African artisan traditions and prints.

The Duchess of Sussex joins in with dancers as she leaves the Nyanga Township in Cape Town, South Africa, on the first day of their tour of Africa. PA Photo. Picture date: Monday September 23, 2019. See PA story ROYAL Tour . Photo credit should read: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire
The Duchess of Sussex joins in with dancers as she leaves the Nyanga Township in Cape Town, South Africa, on the first day of their tour of Africa. PA Photo. Picture date: Monday September 23, 2019. See PA story ROYAL Tour . Photo credit should read: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

The delicate cotton dress with cap sleeves was tied at the front, and the former Suits star appeared to be wearing a lace petticoat or have lace detailing underneath.

She had changed from the outfit she wore on arrival - a white shirt, white trousers, flats and a neutral-coloured cardigan, which she was spotted in while carrying four-month-old Archie, who was wearing a bobble hat.

The Duchess of Sussex, Meghan, hugs a child during the Justice Desk initiative in Nyanga township, on the first day of her African tour in Cape Town, South Africa, September 23, 2019. Chris Jackson/Pool via REUTERS
The Duchess of Sussex, Meghan, hugs a child during the Justice Desk initiative in Nyanga township, on the first day of her African tour in Cape Town, South Africa, September 23, 2019. Chris Jackson/Pool via REUTERS

Later on she changed again - into a gorgeous blue Veronica Beard dress for her second public engagement of the day.

The couple managed a bit of dancing as a musical welcome greeted them in Nyanga, whose location was not made public in advance because of security concerns.

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.

Frustration over unemployment and lack of services has also exploded into protests and attacks on foreigners elsewhere in South Africa in recent weeks.

"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," Harry said.

The royal couple were also meeting with former residents of District Six, a vibrant mixed-race community that was relocated from the inner city during the Apartheid era, which ended in 1994.

Their visit also will focus on wildlife protection, entrepreneurship, mental health and mine clearance - a topic given global attention by Princess Diana, when she walked through an active minefield during an Africa visit years ago.

The couple arrived in a South Africa still shaken by the rape and murder of a university student.

The savage killing was carried out in a post office, and sparked protests by thousands of women tired of abuse and impunity in a country where more than 100 rapes are reported daily.

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.

While the royal visit was not causing the kind of excitement seen at times in royal visits in other countries, some in South Africa said they were happy to see Meghan, who has been vocal about women's rights.

"We are encouraged to hear your president take the next steps to work towards preventing gender-based violence," Meghan said.

Later this week, Harry will break away for visits to Botswana, Angola and Malawi.

Herald

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