Cape Town – From honouring Princess Diana's memory to paying tribute to Uyinene Mrwetyana – The Duke and Duchess of Sussex dedicated the second leg of their Sussex Royal Tour of Africa to the women who inspire them.
After concluding their joint tour of Cape Town on Wednesday, while Duchess Meghan carried out an engagement or two on her own, His Royal Highness boarded a plane to Botswana where he undertook his first solo royal engagement, planting trees in Chobe National Park with 200 children from local primary schools early Thursday morning.
To promote conversation, Prince Harry planted a baobab that will live for 1000 years, explaining that the people of Botswana rely on the Chobe River, but the Chobe National Park is home to a huge elephant population. So securing the forest, so people have access to the river and the elephants have a place to call home is critical.
While on the trip, His Royal Highness spoke candidly about Princess Diana, saying being in Africa made him feel grounded and safe.
"I came here in '97, '98, straight after my mom died," he said, revealing, "It was a nice place to get away from it all.
"But now I feel deeply connected to this place," he said of Botswana, "and to Africa."
(CONSERVATION IS CRITICAL: While in Botswana, Prince Harry planted trees in Chobe National Park with 200 children from local primary schools. They were all grown in recycled milk tins from the elephant orphanage, using fertilised soil from the orphans' dung. Photo: Getty Images)
On Friday, in a poignant royal engagement, Prince Harry honoured his late mother when he walked the same street she did in 1997 which, at the time, was filled with landmines. Since, the area has transformed from desolate and unhabitable to lively and vibrant, with colleges, schools and small businesses.
Princess Diana's steps on the open minefield served as a catalyst in banning the deadly weapon. In fact, it directly led to the Convention against Anti-Personal Landmines, also known as the Ottawa Treaty, effectively changing the course of history.
In 1997, the late princess said, "If an international ban on mines can be secured it means, looking far ahead, that the world may be a safer place for this generation's grandchildren."
Prince Harry said of the experience, "It's incredibly emotional to follow in the footsteps of my mother... If 20 years ago she hadn't done what she did, this would still be a minefield. To see this as a thriving community is amazing."
(1997:Princess Diana visits a minefield being cleared by The Halo Trust in Angola in 1997. Photo: Getty Images)
(2019: Prince Harry walks through a minefield during a visit to Angola to see the work of landmine clearance charity The Halo Trust, on day five of the royal tour of Africa. Photo: Getty Images)
Later, Prince Harry met with President João Lourenço to thank him for the warm welcome to his country before he sat down with landmine victim, Sandra Tigica.
Twenty-two years ago, Sandra met Princess Diana during her visit to an orthopaedic workshop where she was being measured for a new prosthetic leg.
The picture of Diana and Sandra sitting side-by-side under a fig tree captured the hearts of many and now, many years later, so too did Prince Harry's meeting with her.
About meeting Diana Sandra said it was an honour to sit next to a princess, while also sharing that she has five children and named her daughter Diana in honour of the late princess.
(1997: Diana, Princess of Wales with thirteen-year-old Sandra Tigica, whom she befriended at the Orthopaedic workshop at Neves Mendinha, during a visit to Luanda. Photo: Getty Images)
(2019: Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex meets landmine victim Sandra Tigica, who Princess Diana met on her visit to Angola 1997, at a reception at the British Ambassadors Residence in Luanda, Angola. Photo: Getty Images)
While Duchess Meghan remained in Cape Town with Archie, she too had a busy few days.
Her Royal Highness met with a group of South African women leaders on Thursday to better understand the roles they play in the country and their communities.
The group of diverse women from various backgrounds and generations included former anti-apartheid activist Sophia Willams-De Bruyn, Dr Mamphela Ramphele, UCT Vice-Chancellor Professor Mamokgethi Phakeng, Lindiwe Mazibuko, Judy Sikuza, Mbali Ntuli, Siviwe Gwarube and Nompendulo Mkatshwa.
During their time together, they shared the struggles they have faced and their action plan for the future, while Her Royal Highness shared a few words of wisdom with the inspiring and courageous ladies.
"I was recently reminded that the first one up the mountain often gets knocked down the hardest, but makes way for everyone behind them. These brave women have been able to see how their struggle can pave the way for so many. For all young women organisers, activists and campaigners today, you must keep at it and know that you are working for this generation and the next, and also continuing the legacy of the generations of great women before you", she said.
(INSPIRED: The Duchess of Sussex with a group of courageous South African women leaders influencing change. Photo: British High Commissioner)
On a more personal level and in her private capacity, Her Royal Highness also made a stop to the post office where Uyinene Mrwetyana was murdered.
On 24 August, the 19-year-old student was murdered, allegedly by a 42-year-old post office worker, after he raped her.
The young woman's brutal death sparked a movement around South Africa with women from a variety of backgrounds taking to the streets and asking: "Am I Next?"
On Saturday The Sussex Royal Instagram account posted a picture of Meghan at the memorial with the caption explaining that after her meeting with Uyinene's mother, the duchess tied a ribbon at the site of the murder with the words "Simi kunye kulesisimo" on it which translates to "We stand together in this moment".
(A TRIBUTE TO UYINENE: The duchess writes "Simi kunye kulesisimo" - "We stand together in this moment" - on a ribbon outside the post office. Photo: Instagram)
Closing the weekend and applauding the work of inspiring women in Lilongwe, Malawi, Their Royal Highnesses appeared together – well, sort of.
His Royal Highness met with the women who attended school through the help of CAMFED, the Campaign for Female Education, which is a non-profit organisation dedicated to eradicating poverty through education. CAMFED has a 20-year-old alumni network, and the CAMA women who form part of the network across Africa – which has 140 000 members of which 17 500 are in Malawi alone – consist of positive female role models, leaders and entrepreneurs, working tirelessly to lift their communities.
Money distributed by CAMA goes directly to each of their alumni, who then use their resources to support another three children to attend school.
Duchess Meghan was in Cape Town, but that didn't stop her from connecting via Skype.
To a group of excited young women seated in front of a screen, Prince Harry said, "I know there's somebody else you'd far rather hear from than me, hopefully, if technology doesn't fail us you may see somebody on the screen."
Meghan popped up on screen to a warm welcome before she said, "I'm so happy to be with you."
"We're just so proud as president and vice-president of the Queen's Commonwealth Trust that we can support you in everything that you do because we cannot begin to express how valuable and vital that work is, we're just incredibly proud to be part of it."
She continued, "I wish I could be with you, we're in South Africa right now," she said, before continuing, "Archie's taking a nap. I'm with you in spirit."
(A SPECIAL APPEARANCE: Duchess Meghan Markle connects with inspiring women in Malawi via Skype. Photo: Getty Images)
On Monday Prince Harry is set to visit Liwonder National Park to focus on an anti-poaching initiative before meeting up with Meghan and Archie once more. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex will wrap up their royal tour of Africa in Johannesburg with a trip to a township before meeting Graca Machel followed by President Cyril Ramaphosa and Dr Tshepo Motsepe.