The Duchess of Sussex Meghan on Tuesday graced the University of Johannesburg (UJ) where she addressed a selected group of students in a cordoned off area.
Lots of anticipation was evident on campus, but for some the excitement soon turned into disappointment once the students realised they would not be able to mingle with the famous royal who played Rachel Zane on the American legal drama "Suits".
She has since retired from acting but remains an outspoken feminist who often addresses issues of gender inequality
UJ final year journalism student Thembelihle Qwabe said while she felt sad, she also understood that the Duchess of Sussex needed to be protected.
She had been looking forward to hearing a message of hope from the royal who is of mixed heritage.
Qwabe complained that some students were not allowed to speak to, or interact, with Meghan.
“It is pretty sad that we didn’t get an opportunity to listen to her, especially for us as Black African women. At first we heard that she was coming but we thought it was just a rumour as nothing was communicated,” said Qwabe.
She said normally events were announced by the university well in advance through a blackboard system, but this was not the case this time around.
“For us as students, nothing was arranged – she was simply brought through the VIP entrance with a lot of security. There were journalists from all over the world. Afterwards, she was just rushed off to her car surrounded by security and that was it.”
Qwabe said although they were disappointed by the manner in which things played out, they were nonetheless still excited that she graced the institution with her presence as she aspires to be as great.
During her visit to the UJ Kingsway Campus, Meghan took part in a roundtable discussion with the Association of Commonwealth Universities.
She was met by Susana Glavan – Director of the British Council in South Africa, Professor Tshilidzi Marwala – Vice-Chancellor of the University and Joanna Newman – Secretary General of the Association of Commonwealth Universities.
The duchess was later expected to visit a Youth Employment Services hub in Tembisa, a meeting with Graça Machel at the British High Commissioner’s residence, a creative industries and finally, a meeting with the President, Cyril Ramaphosa.
Prince Harry was in Malawi and is only expected to join Meghan and their son Archie in South Africa on Wednesday.
African News Agency (ANA)