Cape Town – Their Royal Highnesses reunited in Johannesburg this week, where they concluded their royal tour of the African continent.
Kicking off the events in Johannesburg, Her Royal Highness made a surprise stop on Monday to support local artists and designers at Victoria Yards in Lorentzville – an urban village-environment for creatives. Meghan arrived at about 14:00, and the artists and designers displayed their work for Meghan.
One of the creatives, James Delaney, told Channel24 the duchess was "polite, friendly and informal".
"We had a friendly chat. I introduced myself as James, and she said: 'Hi, I'm Meghan'."
"My team and I decided to honour her son with a cute dungaree, and it was her heart-warming reaction when I handed them to her that'll forever be etched in my memory."
Tshepo, who started his jeans brand in 2015, said, "It was so beautiful seeing her maternal side come to life," and added that she was beaming with gratitude.
(INSPIRED: Duchess Meghan meets with creatives in Victoria Yards. Photo: Twitter/James Delaney)
At UJ, Meghan said, "Thank you so much for having me, I'm so excited to be here," before revealing this particular project is "truly and deeply meaningful" to her on a personal level.
Her Royal Highness, a known advocate for women's rights said, "The goal here is to be able to have gender equality, to be able to support women as they are working in research and higher education roles, and also to have workshops to convene things that are really helping people understand the importance of gender equality."
"When a woman is in power," Meghan said, "it changes absolutely everything in the community and starting in an educational atmosphere is really a key point of that."
With that the Duchess of Sussex made two very big announcements that will improve access to higher education in SA: the introduction of three new gender grants that will be given to researchers at the University of Johannesburg, the University of Stellenbosch and the University of the Western Cape and four new Queen Elizabeth Commonwealth scholarships, which will be given to students from Tanzania, Zambia and Nigeria to study in South Africa next year.
(ROUND TABLE: Her Royal Highness met with students and academics to discuss the challenges female students are still facing today in terms of access to higher education. Picture: Itumeleng English/African News Agency(ANA))
Furthering her focus on female empowerment, the duchess made her next stop Action Aid – an international non-governmental organisation with the primary aim of working to eradicate poverty while helping citizens to achieve social justice and gender inequality in impoverished communities.
There she spoke to women about the nature of violence against women and girls in South Africa, before she was introduced to girls between the ages of 12 and 16, who spoke about their experiences.
(AN EMPOWERING AFTERNOON: Duchess spoke to women and girls about the country's ongoing struggle with gender based violence. Photo: EWN/Kayleen Morgan)
Her visit to Action Aid came days after she visited the site where Uyinene Mrwetyana was raped and killed.
She was seen tying a yellow ribbon with the words "Simi kunye kulesisimo" (We stand together in this moment) written on it.
She signed it, "Harry & Meghan, September 25, 2019."
On Wednesday, with Harry 'home' in South Africa, both the Duke and Duchess of Sussex visited Tembisa – a large township home to over 400 000 residents, many of whom struggle to find work as the issue of youth unemployment, specifically, continues. Their Royal Highnesses were deeply inspired by young South Africans upskilling and doing whatever they can to contribute to their community.
Prince Harry said, "It's moments like today and meeting all of you, that inspires us.
"Whether supporting young entrepreneurs, empowering women and girls, or challenging the issue of gender-based violence; whether it's been planting trees, clearing landmines, or protecting the most beautiful creatures and places on the planet, these experiences have affirmed our love of Africa, and the issues that are so important to us.
"We will firmly stand up for what we believe. We are fortunate enough to have a position that gives us amazing opportunities, and we want to do all we can to play our part in building a better world.
"We will always seek to challenge injustice and to speak out for those who may feel unheard. So no matter your background, your nationality, your age or gender, your sexuality, your physical ability, no matter your circumstance or colour of your skin – we believe in you, and we intend to spend our entire lives making sure you have the opportunity to succeed – and to change the world."
Their Royal Highnesses spent the first half of their afternoon with Graça Michel in Hyde Park, reflecting on their tour. Duchess Meghan said, "We've met the most incredible people," describing South Africa as the most "energising" place.
"Even though it's a full schedule," she said of their tour, "you just feel uplifted.
"It's been beautiful."
(REFLECTING: Duchess Meghan and Prince Harry spend the afternoon with Graça Machel. Photo: Getty Images)
Shortly after, Their Royal Highnesses attended a reception where Meghan said the tour has meant so much to her and her family, adding it's been so affirming to know they're not alone in the things that they believe. She shared a lesson she learned while at Auawal Masjid in Bo-Kaap.
"One of the women told us that the way we change the world is to honour the dignity of difference.
"In this, we can find strength when we can bridge divides and meet as human beings with different experiences we can all find connection, and in that connection, we become more aware of one another, of our place in the world. We find hope, and self-worth, we can find optimism and courage – ultimately, we can find joy.
"So whether for Archie, Harry and Me in South Africa, or for my husband travelling through Botswana, Angola and Malawi, please know that you have given us so much inspiration, so much hope, and above all, you have given us joy."
(GOODBYE: Meghan makes one last empowering speech. Photo: Getty Images)
Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan concluded their tour with a visit to the president's residence in Tshwane where they had a private meeting with President Cyril Ramaphosa and First Lady Dr Tshepo Motsepe.
Although they didn't share much from their final engagement, the president did share on his Twitter account the gifts they shared. In a video that may very well be the highlight of the entire tour, President Ramaphosa gushed over his cattle book with Harry and Meghan.
His Royal Highness revealed a beautifully framed photograph he'd brought as a gift for the president.
"Look at my cattle!" Cyril said, turning the frame around and showing the cameras, before giving the royals his published work, Cattle of the Ages: Ankole cattle in South Africa.
"Wow," Harry said, while Meghan was genuinely taken with the gift. "How amazing," she commented.
Paging through the signed copy, the president said they are "unbelievable cattle", pointing to each and every photograph.
"That's me among the cattle!" he said on one occasion. On another, he beamed, "Look at how beautiful these cattle are. Look at their pose."
WATCH THE PRECIOUS MOMENT HERE:
Exchange of gifts between the President, First Lady Dr Motsepe, and The Duke and Duchess of Sussex during the courtesy call at the Mahlamba Ndlopfu Residence in Tshwane. #SussexRoyalTour #RoyalVisitSouthAfrica pic.twitter.com/MwvaKYmR76— PresidencyZA (@PresidencyZA) October 2, 2019