Meghan Markle makes 'top-secret pilgrimage' to pay tribute to murdered South African student

Francesca Specter
Yahoo Style UK deputy editor
Meghan, Duchess of Sussex paid a visit to honour murdered South African student Uyinene Mrwetyana. [Photo: Getty]

Meghan Markle made a private, unscheduled trip to honour murdered South African student Uyinene Mrwetyana, leaving a moving message at the site where she was killed.

The Duchess of Sussex, 38, is mid-way through a 10-day tour of South Africa, together with husband Prince Harry, 35, and son Archie, who is four-months-old.

Duchess Meghan made a private visit of her own earlier this week, although it is not known on exactly which day the visit happened. The trip was confirmed earlier today by a post on the @SussexRoyal Instagram account.

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According to Buckingham Palace, the visit to the post office site was a “personal gesture” after having “closely following the tragic story” of Mrwetyana, a 19-year-old University of Cape Town student, who was raped and murdered last month. A 42-year-old male post office employee has been arrested in connection with the murder.

Meghan, Duchess of Sussex visits mothers2mothers during her royal tour of South Africa with Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex on September 25, 2019 in Cape Town, South Africa. [Photo: Getty]
Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, Meghan, Duchess of Sussex and their baby son Archie Mountbatten-Windsor meet Archbishop Desmond Tutu and his daughter Thandeka Tutu-Gxash on September 25. [Photo: Getty]

Buckingham Palace said: "We can confirm that earlier this week The Duchess made a private visit to the memorial of Uyinene Mrwetyana. Having closely followed the tragic story, it was a personal gesture she wanted to make."

The @SussexRoyal Instagram post shows Meghan – dressed in a white top and jeans – tying a yellow ribbon to the rails at the post office where the murder took place. The post also provides further information about the problem of gender based violence in South Africa, linking out in the account’s bio to a New Yorker article which discusses Mrwetyana and South Africa’s #AmINext movement, which draws attention to the country's growing rates of sexual violence.

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The Duchess left a moving message at the site, according to royal correspondent Emily Andrews, written in South African Xhosa, one of the official languages of Xhosa. It read: “Simi kunye kulesisimo, which translates to “We stand together in this situation”, and was signed off from: “Harry and Meghan September 26, 2019".

The message was said to have been written in the Duchess’ distinctive calligraphic style, and written along the length of a yellow ribbon – joined dozens of other coloured ribbons which were left in tribute to the late teenager.

Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex walks on Princess Diana Street on day five of the royal tour of Africa on September 27, 2019 in Dirico, Angola. [Photo: Getty]

While the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s carried out a number of joint engagements earlier this week, their schedules have parted for this stage of the tour.

Prince Harry spent yesterday in Angola, a west-coast country of south-central Africa, following in the footsteps of his late mother Princess Diana through his work with demining charity The Halo Trust, and yesterday attended a reception at the British ambassador’s residence.

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This morning he will have an audience with President Lourenço at the Presidential Palace before visiting maternity hospital Lucrécia Palm to see the work of a project led by First Lady Ana Dias Lourenço which focuses on preventing HIV/AIDs transmission from mothers to babies.