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Meghan Markle in South Africa: Duchess of Sussex says there is a global “consciousness crisis” when it comes to our mental health

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Lauren Geall
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Meghan Markle with Waves for Change charity representative

Speaking in an interview on the second day of her South Africa Tour, Meghan Markle said there is a global “consciousness crisis” when it comes to mental health, and appealed to people to talk and listen to each other when it comes to their wellbeing.

Meghan Markle has demonstrated her commitment to tackling the subjects that she cares about during her time in South Africa.

After the Duke and Duchess of Sussex arrived in Cape Town with their baby son Archie on Monday (23 September), the couple travelled to the Nyanga township to visit The Justice Desk, an organisation dedicated to supporting children, vulnerable people, and local communities. And on the second day of their tour, the royal pair headed to an event lead by a charity called Waves for Change, which works with surfers to provide mental health support for young people.

When asked what was the biggest problem when it came to dealing with global mental health stigma, Meghan spoke candidly about her belief in the power of communication.

“It’s just getting people to talk about it and talk to each other, right?” she said. “No matter where you are in the world, if you’re a small community or a township, if you’re in a big city – it’s that everyone is dealing with a different version of the same thing.

“Globally, I think there’s a bit of a consciousness crisis,” she continued, “so the fact we’re able to be here together to see on the ground so much good work that’s being done, just because people are willing to talk to each other about it and someone’s willing to listen, is huge.”

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry sat on the floor with Waves for Change representatives
Meghan Markle in South Africa: The Duke and Duchess of Sussex spoke to young people from the Waves for Change charity.

Just the day before, Meghan and Prince Harry spent time discussing the subject of gender-based violence – another subject which is very close to the duchess’s heart.

During an impassioned speech at the tour’s first official engagement, Meghan demonstrated her dedication to addressing women’s issues, giving a powerful speech in which she quoted the work of Maya Angelou to praise the efforts of South African women in the fight against gender-based violence.

Meghan Markle addresses a crowd of people from the Nyanga township on the first day of the South Africa tour
Meghan Markle in South Africa: The Duchess of Sussex speaks at an event in the Nyanga township on the first day of the royal tour.

“You have welcomed us into this community, have been open and honest with us, both about the dangers women and children face, and about how you are addressing them,” the duchess said, standing on top of a tree stump.

“The rights of women and girls is something that is very close to my heart, and the cause I have spent the majority of my life advocating for because I know that when women are empowered, the entire community flourishes,” Meghan continued.

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“I read a quote a few weeks ago and it resonated with me as I’ve been watching what’s been happening here and your active efforts,” she added. “Maya Angelou, the legendary poet and civil rights activist, once said: ‘Each time a woman stands up for herself, without knowing it, possibly without claiming it, she stands up for all women’.”

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry smiling at a performance in South Africa
Meghan Markle in South Africa: The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have begun their 10-day tour around the country.

As Prince Harry stood to the side, Meghan then went on to deliver an impassioned message of support to the people of the Nyanga township, thanking the people gathered for showing her and her husband the activities and strategies they are employing to tackle the problem of violence against women.

“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,” Meghan explained. “I am here with you and I am here FOR you.”

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