Prince Harry has a special message for South African men

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Prince Harry and his wife, Meghan Markle, kickstarted their 10-day tour of southern Africa on Monday by visiting Nyanga, the Cape Flats township dubbed the country's "murder capital".

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex witnessed a self-defence workshop for young women at the Nyanga Methodist Church run by The Justice Desk, a non-profit organisation that teaches children about their rights, self-awareness and safety.

The media contingent that turned up to cover the event seemed to outnumber the locals. Most residents seemed surprised to see fancy cars and police in their midst.

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Both royals gave emotional speeches that focused on the fight against gender-based violence.

“Molweni!” Prince Harry greeted the exuberant crowd in Xhosa before explaining the pair's choice to begin their South African trip with a visit to the NGO.

He said they wanted to focus "on the significant challenges facing millions of South Africans, while acknowledging the hope that we feel so strongly here".

“This is a community where men and women have a role to play. Touching on what your president said last week, no man is born to cause violence to women. This is learned behaviour and a cycle that need to be broken," he said, adding that he was impressed that the community was tackling gender-based violence head on.

“To me, the real testament of your strength isn’t physical … Your strength is in your spirit, which for me means honouring and protecting my wife, and being a positive role model for my son,” he said.

“Meghan and I are truly inspired by your resilience, your spirit, your sense of community and your belief in a brighter future for everyone here.

"We know that you haven’t been heard before, but change is coming. Now is the time to come together as a community and applaud those who are leading the way for South Africa’s ongoing transformation.”

'I AM HERE WITH YOU, I AM HERE FOR YOU'

The duchess also addressed the crowd, saying that community members had been candid about the issues they face and how they're overcoming them.

Encouraging them in their efforts, she said: "The work that’s being done here is to keep women and children safer, which is needed now more than ever.

"I know it's not easy and I know it must feel insurmountable at times, but your commitment to what is right gives all of us hope – especially your brothers and sisters here in your community, who need you to continue to shine your light brightly.

"Your commitment is inspiring, it is energizingaA and it is extraordinary. You must keep going. You must know that what you're doing not only matters, it is vital because you are vital."

Meghan thanked the crowd for showing her and her husband the spirit of ubuntu, and ended on a personal note: "May I just say that while I am here with my husband as a member of the royal family, I want you to know that I am here as a mother, as a wife, as a woman, as a woman of colour and as your sister. I am here with you and I am here for you."

The couple then headed to the Cape Town CBD to visit the District Six Museum and learn about the history of the area, once a bustling multiracial suburb that was almost entirely demolished by the apartheid government in the late 1960s, its coloured residents forcibly relocated to the Cape Flats.
-Sowetan


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