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Meghan visits memorial for murdered South African student

Johannesburg — Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, has visited a memorial to a young South African woman whose rape and murder inspired thousands of people to protest the country's high rate of sexual violence.

In a quiet stop during a royal tour, Meghan tied a ribbon to the memorial at the post office where 19-year-old university student Uyinene Mrwetyana was attacked last month. The assault has led outraged women to march in the streets in major cities and rally behind an online campaign called #AmINext.

A post on the royals' Instagram account called the death "a critical point in the future of women's rights in South Africa" and said the visit was "personally important" to Meghan.

The duchess also has spoken with Mrwetyana's mother, the post said, adding that "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."

More than 100 rapes are reported every day in South Africa, and President Cyril Ramaphosa calls the country "one of the most unsafe places in the world to be a woman." He announced new emergency measures and vowed to be tougher on perpetrators, but some women weary of years of such pronouncements have suggested that South Africa bring back the death penalty for rapists.

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“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

The scope of the problem is well-known. More than 2,700 women were murdered in South Africa last year, and more than 1,000 children, the government says. One in five women over age 18 have faced physical violence from a partner.

Women's empowerment is one of the many issues that Meghan and Prince Harry are highlighting on their first official tour as a family with their baby, Archie. The 10-day, multi-country visit continued on Saturday for Harry with a meeting in Angola with the president of the southern African nation.

Prince Harry walks across Angolan minefield as Princess Diana did two decades ago

The prince on Friday followed in the footsteps of his late mother, Princess Diana, whose walk through an active minefield in Angola years ago helped to lead to a global ban on the deadly weapons.

"Landmines are an unhealed scar of war," Prince Harry said. "By clearing the landmines we can help this community find peace, and with peace comes opportunity."

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