Meghan Markle, Duchess of Sussex, continued to show her support for women’s rights with a private visit to the Cape Town memorial of Uyinene Mrwetyana, the 19-year-old University of Cape Town student who was raped and murdered, allegedly by a post office worker.
Meghan visited the memorial to Mrwetyana at the Clareinch Post Office, where she was killed, and left a handwritten message. It read, “Harry & Meghan 26th September 2019.” She added in Xhosa, the native language, “We stand together in this situation.” She’s seen in an Instagram photo tying a ribbon on the memorial. Prince Harry and Meghan have split up for part of their African royal tour, and she made this visit alone.
On the official Sussex Instagram, the caption delved into the terrifying gender-based violence plaguing South Africa.
On the day she disappeared, Mrwetyana went to the post office to ask about a package and was told to return later that day, according to The South African. When she returned, she was raped and murdered. The young woman went missing in late August, and sadly her death was confirmed in September.
“Having closely followed the tragic story, it was a personal gesture [Meghan] wanted to make,” the duchess’ spokesperson told People.
Just a few weeks ago, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa called an emergency sitting of Parliament to urgently address the issue, the BBC reports.
“Visiting the site of this tragic death and being able to recognise Uyinene, and all women and girls effected [sic] by GBV (specifically in South Africa, but also throughout the world) was personally important to The Duchess,” read the Instagram caption.
It continued, addressing the issue of women’s rights, “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.”
About 2,700 women and 1,000 children were murdered by men last year, and at least 100 rapes were reported daily. Ramaphosa said the figures for violence against women and children were similar to those of a country at war.
“There is a dark and heavy shadow across our land. Women and children are under siege,” Ramaphosa said to Parliament, the BBC reports, describing South Africa as one of “the most unsafe places in [the] world to be a woman.”
Girls as young as 14 have been murdered, including Janika Mallo, who was raped and killed after her head was apparently hit with a concrete block. No arrests have been made in the case. And another 19-year-old, Jesse Hess — along with her 85-year-old grandfather — was found dead in her home. No arrests have been made. At the end of the heartbreaking Instagram post, the duchess shared the hashtag #AmINext and directed readers to learn more about the #AmINext movement.
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