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Meghan to speak out on violence against women in South Africa as tour begins

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex will travel through South Africa with their son Archie before Harry visits projects in Angola, Malawi and Botswana.

The Duchess of Sussex (Mark Large/Daily Mail/PA)
The Duchess of Sussex (Mark Large/Daily Mail/PA)

By Tony Jones, PA Court Correspondent

The Duchess of Sussex is expected to begin her visit to Africa by adding her voice to the thousands who have spoken out about the rising violence against women in South Africa.

Meghan, who is a champion of gender equality, is likely to raise the issue when her tour of South Africa with husband Harry and their son Archie starts on Monday.

The couple’s first event will be a visit to a Township in Cape Town, where they will tour a workshop that provides a range of services to young people, including self-defence classes and female empowerment training to young girls in the community.

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The royal couple will be undertaking their first tour as a family with their son Archie (Ian West/PA)

Campaigners took to the streets of Cape Town earlier this month to protest at what they claimed was their government’s failure to deal with the problem, following a series of attacks that have shocked the African nation.

It is understood Meghan and Harry watched the South African president Cyril Ramaphosa’s address to his country following days of protests, when he acknowledged the African nation was facing a national crisis of violence against women.

The former actress is an active humanitarian campaigner – particularly on the topic of gender equality – who has spoken about women’s empowerment.

Meghan’s activism famously started at a young age. At 11 she forced a soap manufacturer to alter an advert after she wrote a letter to then first lady Hillary Clinton and other high-profile figures complaining that it implied women belonged in the kitchen.

The Sussexes’ first tour as a family comes after the duke and duchess flew to Rome to watch Meghan’s close friend, fashion designer Misha Nonoo, marry oil tycoon Michael Hess on Friday.

Among the guests at the lavish celebration were Harry’s cousins Princesses Eugenie and Beatrice, US president Donald Trump’s daughter Ivanka Trump and her husband Jared Kushner, and actor James Corden.

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Harry will highlight the drive to remove landmines from Angola on his journey (Chris Jackson/PA)

Harry will travel to Angola during his Africa tour, to pay homage to Diana’s work campaigning for landmines to be outlawed during a visit she made to the country in 1997.

A post about the tour on the royal’s official Instagram account said: “The Duke is especially proud to continue the legacy left by his mother with her work in Angola as he joins Halo Trust again in an effort to rid the world of landmines.”

Harry will also pay tribute to a British soldier killed by an elephant during anti-poaching operations in Malawi when he visits the country to focus attention on efforts to protect endangered animals.

Highlights of the trip will see the duke and duchess visit a township near Johannesburg where they will learn about a project tackling rising unemployment.

The royals will visit Africa from September 23 to October 2, and while Meghan and Archie will spend the duration in South Africa, Harry will leave his family to tour Angola, Malawi and Botswana before being reunited with them in Johannesburg.

A Buckingham Palace spokeswoman said: “The Duke of Sussex’s love for Africa is well known; he first visited the continent at the age of 13 and more than two decades later, the people, culture, wildlife and resilient communities continue to inspire and motivate him every day.”

Harry’s first trip came in the months after Diana’s death in 1997 when his father the Prince of Wales took him to the continent “to get away from it all”, the duke has said.

Meghan, who is making her first visit to South Africa, and Harry both admire South Africa’s former president Nelson Mandela and have already met members of his family in the UK.

Towards the end of their visit they will be introduced to the statesman’s widow Graca Machel, who met the duke when he visited South Africa in 2015, before an audience with President Cyril Ramaphosa and his wife Tshepo Motsepe.

PA

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