Meghan Markle visited a memorial to a murdered 19-year-old student while traveling in South Africa earlier this week, Buckingham Palace confirms to TIME.
Uyinene Mrwetyana, a female student in Cape Town, was raped and murdered in August. Her death launched a wave of outrage and protests as women across the country demanded South Africa address the issue of gender-based bias, launching the social media campaign #AmINext? 39,633 rapes and 6,253 sexual assaults were reported in the country in 2017, according to Amnesty International.
According to CNN, the Dutches of Sussex initially visited the memorial in secret because she wanted to attend in private as a “personal gesture.”
The official Sussex Royal Instagram account posted a photograph of Markle Saturday morning, tying a ribbon at the post office where Mrwetyana was killed. The post said Markle wanted “to pay her respects and to show solidarity with those who have taken a stand against gender-based violence and femicide.”
“Simi kunye kulesisimo” – ‘We stand together in this moment’ The Duchess of Sussex has tied a ribbon at the site where 19-year-old Cape Town student Uyinene Mrwetyana was murdered last month, to pay her respects and to show solidarity with those who have taken a stand against gender based violence and femicide. Over the last month in Capetown, protests erupted through the streets in outrage over GBV in South Africa. The Duke and Duchess had been following what had happened from afar and were both eager to learn more when they arrived in South Africa. The Duchess spoke to the mother of Uyinene this week to relay their condolences. Visiting the site of this tragic death and being able to recognise Uyinene, and all women and girls effected by GBV (specifically in South Africa, but also throughout the world) was personally important to The Duchess. Uyinene’s death has mobilised people across South Africa in the fight against gender based violence, and is seen as a critical point in the future of women’s rights in South Africa. The Duchess has taken private visits and meetings over the last two days to deepen her understanding of the current situation and continue to advocate for the rights of women and girls. For more information on the recent events in South Africa, please see link in bio. #AmINext
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Markle also spoke with Mrwetyana’s mother, per the social media post.
She spoke out against gender violence during a speech organized by African human rights organization Justice Desk, saying, “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 color and as your sister.”