Meghan Markle gives powerful feminist speech in South Africa

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have made an impression on their first royal tour with son Archie. 

The family began a 10-day tour of Africa, kicking off in South Africa at human rights organisation The Justice Desk. 

Speaking to an audience in Nyanga township just outside Cape Town on Monday (local time), Meghan Markle sent a message of sisterhood to the women in the crowd. 

"Just on one 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 for me I am here with you as a mother, as a wife, as a woman, as a woman of colour and as your sister," she said. 

"I am here with you and I am here for you and I thank you so much for showing my husband and I the spirit of ubuntu [humanity] and I look forward to our time over the next few days together."

She went on to quote US poet and activist Maya Angelou, saying: "Each time a woman stands up for herself, without knowing it, possibly without claiming it, she stands up for all women."

Her words resonated with the audience, who responded with enormous cheers and applause. The Justice Desk, the first stop on the royal tour, teaches South African women and girls self-defence as well as encourages female empowerment. 

The Duchess has spoken in the past about grappling with her identity as a mixed-race woman, which she says often affected her ability to land roles in her acting career.

Prince Harry greets a young audience member in Nyanga.
Prince Harry greets a young audience member in Nyanga. Photo credit: Getty

Her husband also addressed the crowd, saying as an influential public figure he wants to "redefine masculinity".

"To me, the real testament of your strength isn't physical, it's what's up here and what's in here," Prince Harry said, referring to his head and heart. 

"Your strength is in your spirit, which for me means honouring and protecting my wife, and being a positive role model for my son."

The couple also danced with locals and greeted the children and community leaders of Nyanga. For the occasion, their son Archie was gifted a Xhosa name - Ntsika, which translates to 'pillar of strength'.

Baby Archie didn't appear at the event, but the four-month-old was spotted wearing a white bobble hat as the Duchess carried him off the plane at Cape Town Airport.