Long before she was the Duchess of Sussex, Meghan Markle was a self-identified feminist and an activist for women’s rights. Since marrying Prince Harry and becoming a member of the royal family, she’s continued to champion causes around female empowerment, including her recent capsule fashion collection for Smart Works, an organization that helps dress and prepare women to re-enter the workforce.
So, it should come as no surprise that the duchess’s first speech during her latest royal tour of southern Africa touched on these issues. After arriving in Cape Town with baby Archie, she and Prince Harry made their way to the Nuyanga township where they were greeted with music and dancing by representatives of human rights group the Justice Desk.
Markle addressed the crowd, many of whom are doing important work to curb violence against women in their country.
“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 toward preventing gender-based violence through education and necessary changes to reinforce the values of modern South Africa,” she said. “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. 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, a 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.'”
She continued, “Now I know it’s not easy and I know it must feel insurmountable at times, but your commitment wot 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 energizing. And it is extraordinary. You must keep going. You must know that what you are doing not only matters, it is vital because you are vital.”
Markle ended things with, “And just on one personal note, while I’m here with my husband as a member of the royal family. I want you to know, I am here with you as a mother, a wife, as a woman, as a woman of color 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. And I look forward to our time over the next few days together. Thank you so much for having us.”
Now, that’s one fantastic way to kick off a tour.