Meghan Markle today praised South African teenage girls for 'standing up for what is right' in a speech about gender-based violence during her and Prince Harry's visit to Cape Town's 'murder capital' township.
The Duchess of Sussex stood on a tree stump in Nyanga, where 206 are killed each year, to address crowds of local women and girls supported by community charity Justice Desk, which is supported by the Queen's Commonwealth Trust.
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.'
The Duchess of Sussex stood on a tree stump in Nyanga, where 206 are killed each year, to address crowds of local women and girls supported by community charity Justice Desk
The Duchess, 38, has written about her racial heritage before, but this is thought to be the first time she has spoken about it publicly since becoming a royal.
She and Harry, 35, touched down at the airport earlier this morning at the start of their 10-day tour of Africa.
They visited the troubled township 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 began her speech by praising Justice Desk's work, which she said her and Harry had been 'eagerly following from afar'.
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'.
Quoting poet and civil rights activist Maya Angelou, Meghan 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.'
Harry and Meghan are visiting Nyanga in the Cape Flats just outside of Cape Town today on the first stop of their 10-day tour of Africa, where one in 206 people are killed each year, according to recent statistics. Meghan spoke to children at the Nyanga Township in Cape Town today (left and right, speaking)
Harry also spoke, and said it was 'incredibly important' they started their 10-day visit in a South African township to learn about life in black settlements - which have seen increasing amounts of violence against women
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