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Meghan ties ribbon ‘in solidarity’ at memorial to murdered student

The death of Uyinene Mrwetyana in South Africa has sparked outrage and highlighted the issue of violence against women in the country.

The Duchess of Sussex visiting the memorial to a murdered South African student (Sussex Royal/PA)
The Duchess of Sussex visiting the memorial to a murdered South African student (Sussex Royal/PA)

By PA reporters

The Duchess of Sussex has tied a ribbon at the memorial to a murdered South African student after personally passing on her condolences to the 19-year-old’s mother.

Meghan paid tribute to University of Cape Town student Uyinene Mrwetyana at the post office where she was raped and murdered last month.

A post on the official Instagram account of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex said the couple had been following the uprising sparked by the popular student’s death from afar, adding they were both “eager to learn more”.

The post said Meghan made the visit to pay her respects and to show solidarity with protesters against gender-based violence and femicide.

Alongside a picture of Meghan, the post said: “The Duke and Duchess had been following what had happened from afar and were both eager to learn more when they arrived in South Africa.

“The Duchess spoke to the mother of Uyinene this week to relay their condolences.

“Visiting the site of this tragic death and being able to recognise Uyinene, and all women and girls effected by GBV (specifically in South Africa, but also throughout the world) was personally important to The Duchess.”

Wearing blue jeans and a cream tunic top with ruffled straps, the duchess is pictured tying her yellow ribbon to a fence alongside other multicoloured streamers in tribute to the popular teenager, known as Nene.

View this post on Instagram

“Simi kunye kulesisimo” – ‘We stand together in this moment’ The Duchess of Sussex has tied a ribbon at the site where 19-year-old Cape Town student Uyinene Mrwetyana was murdered last month, to pay her respects and to show solidarity with those who have taken a stand against gender based violence and femicide. Over the last month in Capetown, protests erupted through the streets in outrage over GBV in South Africa. The Duke and Duchess had been following what had happened from afar and were both eager to learn more when they arrived in South Africa. The Duchess spoke to the mother of Uyinene this week to relay their condolences. Visiting the site of this tragic death and being able to recognise Uyinene, and all women and girls effected by GBV (specifically in South Africa, but also throughout the world) was personally important to The Duchess. 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. For more information on the recent events in SA, please continue to follow our tour #AmINext

A post shared by The Duke and Duchess of Sussex (@sussexroyal) on

It is also understood that Meghan wrote on the ribbon in the local language Xhosa: “We stand together in this moment. Harry and Meghan September 26, 2019”, according to images taken by Sun royal correspondent Emily Andrews.

The Instagram post added that the duchess had taken private visits in South Africa over the past two days to “deepen her understanding” of the current situation.

A 42-year-old male post office employee has been arrested over the killing.

It was later confirmed that the Duchess, using a ribbon from a gift she received in Cape Town, wrote the couple’s message, before visiting the memorial.

The yellow ribbon held the message Simi Kunye Kuleslslmo which translates as “we stand together in this moment”.

Local resident Celeste Fortuin, who was paying tribute herself, told PA that Meghan’s gesture would mean a lot to the community.

“It’s a very personal statement she made to say that she understands what happened here, she knows that it’s important to not let us forget that a young girl with so much potential in her life lost her life here, and we should all do something to stop violence against women and children.

“On a personal level, she is a woman, and for me to see her tying the ribbon there, says that you know, she gets it. She understands what happened here. At some level, she might even also understand how we as women feel – I’m sure she does.”

This comes after the royals were met with signs of protest as they visited the Bo-Kaap area in Cape Town earlier on the tour.

PA

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