Duchess of Sussex pays secret tribute to murdered S.Africa student

The Duchess of Sussex ties on a ribbon as she visits the memorial to murdered South African student Uyinene Mrwetyana in Cape Town in solidarity with victims of gender violence

Meghan Markle has visited the site where a young female student was murdered in South Africa last month in a show of solidarity with victims of gender violence in one of the world's most dangerous countries for women.

The Duchess of Sussex tied a yellow ribbon in memory of 19-year old Uyinene Mrwetyana, brutally raped and killed in the coastal city of Cape Town, where she was attending university.

The visit took place secretly this week but was announced on the official Sussex Royal Instagram page on Saturday.

"Visiting the site of this tragic death and being able to recognise Uyinene... was personally important to The Duchess," said the Instagram post, adding that Meghan also met her mother to relay her condolences.

South Africa is plagued by gender-based violence, with at least 137 sexual offences committed per day, according to official figures.

In August alone, more than 30 women were killed by their spouses.

Mrwetyana's murder is among a handful of recent cases that sparked widespread demonstrations across the country.

Protesters are calling on the government to do more to protect women and crack down on perpetrators.

Meghan -- an outspoken women's rights advocate -- is in South Africa as part of a 10-day official trip with her husband Prince Harry and their baby son Archie.

The Duke and Duchess both expressed their support for the ongoing fight against gender violence on the first day of their tour earlier this week.

"Please know that my husband and I have been closely following what you’ve been experiencing here, as best we can from afar," said Meghan, addressing young girls in Cape Town's Nyanga township on Monday.

"Now that we are with you, we are eager to learn and see first-hand the work that you're doing."

Meghan and Archie remained in South Africa this week after Harry left for Botswana, Angola and Malawi.

The former actress, who has been advocating women's rights since long before marrying Harry in 2017, has taken part in a series of private meetings to "deepen her understanding of the current situation", according to the Instagram post.

Harry is currently on a three-day tour of Angola, where he visited several land mine clearing projects -- a cause his late mother Diana took particularly to heart.

The Prince met with President Joao Lourenco on Saturday and is scheduled to fly to Malawi later the same day.

He rejoins his family in Johannesburg next week before returning home on October 2.

sch/pma