'We are with you': Meghan's message to Uyinene on a yellow ribbon

Meghan Markle ties a ribbon to the railing at Clareinch post office in memory of Uyinene Mrwetyana.
Meghan Markle ties a ribbon to the railing at Clareinch post office in memory of Uyinene Mrwetyana.
Image: Instagram/sussexroyal

"We are with you, sister."

These are the words - written in isiXhosa by Meghan Markle, the Duchess of Sussex - on a yellow ribbon tied to the railing at the post office where 19-year-old Uyinene Mrwetyana was murdered in August.

The ribbon is signed “Harry & Meghan, September 26, 2019”, and British news reports said the handwriting matched Meghan’s.

A photograph of Meghan tying the ribbon to the railing at Clareinch Post Office in Claremont was uploaded on the couple's Instagram account.

The accompanying post said: "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 Cape Town, 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."

It is understood that following Prince Harry’s departure for other southern African countries on Wednesday, his actress wife and baby son, Archie, spent Thursday and Friday at the British high commissioner’s residence in Bishopscourt.

At the royal couple's first engagement in Cape Town, in Nyanga on Monday, Meghan told the crowd: “And just on one personal note, may I just say that while I’m here with my husband as a member of the royal family... I am here with you as a mother, as a wife, as a woman, as a woman of colour and as your sister.”

Her comments came after Mrwetyana’s murder on August 24 - and the subsequent arrest of a post office clerk - sparked an uprising against gender violence.

During the visit to the Justice Desk in Nyanga, Prince Harry said “no man is born to cause harm to women” and this was “a cycle that needs to be broken”.

He added: “It’s about redefining masculinity. It’s about creating your own footprints for your children to follow in, so that you can make a positive change for the future.”

Meghan said the work of the Justice Desk, which includes teaching children about their rights and how to deal with trauma, was needed “more than ever”.

A week ago, Mrwetyana’s family told TimesLIVE they were grateful the student’s death became a turning point in the fight against gender-based violence.

The family’s message came shortly after the Post Office fired the 42-year-old man arrested in connection with her rape and murder.

Asked if they intended to sue the Post Office, Mrwetyana’s family said they had yet to decide. “In time, we will consider our moral responsibility in ensuring that justice prevails. Therefore, the shape of things to come is yet to be determined,” they said.

“We will forever be grateful that Uyinene’s life and her passing became the turning point and that her spirit will live on to see a South Africa that is free of gender-based violence.”

Would you like to comment on this article or view other readers' comments? Register (it’s quick and free) or sign in now.

Speech Bubbles

Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.