Meghan Markle opens up on Nelson Mandela comparison: ‘We rejoiced in the streets’

Meghan Markle's sister discusses Immaculate Heart High School

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Speaking in an in-depth interview with The Cut magazine, Meghan said the cast member came up to her when she attended the star-studded premiere of the Disney remake in July 2019. Setting the scene, Meghan said how she had “just had Archie” and had been “scared to go out”, when a cast member from South Africa pulled her aside.

Meghan said: “He looked at me, and he’s just like light. He said, ‘I just need you to know: When you married into this family, we rejoiced in the streets the same we did when Mandela was freed from prison.’”

She did not name the cast member.

Interviewer Allison P. Davies explained: “Of course, she knows she’s no Mandela, but perhaps even telling me this story is a mode of defence, because if you are a symbol for all that is good and charitable, how can anybody find you objectionable, how can anybody hate you?”

Commenting on Meghan’s cultural impact, Ms Davies said: “Meghan’s response to being typecast seems to be to lean into all the positive things her story symbolizes.

“She understands what her ascent meant to Black Britons, for whom she’s a sign of progress, and to women, for whom she’s a working mom and a signal boost to the issues that affect them (paid parental leave, equal pay).”

The story came to light shortly after Meghan drew the ire of some South Africans online when she told of how Archie nearly died in a fire while they were staying in South Africa. The Duchess of Sussex mentioned in the first episode of her podcast series Archetypes that her son risked being involved in a fire just hours after the family had landed in South Africa.

Speaking to her friend and tennis star Serena Williams, Meghan said there had been an incident sparked by a heater placed in the nursery where her then four-month-old son was meant to be napping while his parents were undertaking engagements.

She said: “The moment we landed, we had to drop him off at this housing unit that they had had us staying in. He was going to get ready to go down for his nap.

“We immediately went to an official engagement in this township called Nyanga, and there was this moment where I’m standing on a tree stump and I’m giving this speech to women and girls, and we finish the engagement, we get in the car and they say there’s been a fire at the residence.”

The Duchess went on saying her son had not been harmed as he was not in the room thanks to his nanny Lauren, who had taken the tot downstairs with her for a snack. The description of the residence as a “housing unit” appears to be one of the reasons why some South Africans have taken to Twitter and contributed to get the hashtag VoetsekMeghan – an offensive term meaning “go away” – trending.

One Twitter, user, named Justine Fairground, wrote: “When you try to rip the Royal Family you forget about who you offend on the way.”

Host of The Snaymaan Podcast, Lulama Anderson, wrote: “Meghan Markle doesn’t care how she portrays South Africa.”

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However, other Twitter users defended the Duchess and her decision to speak about the incident, surely upsetting for a mother.

Twitter user @frankinscence said: “Haters will hate! Don’t change the narrative. It was about the fire not about South Africa. I guess you need more love.”

And @nqoet tweeted: “Meghan didn’t say anything offensive. It’s just the miserable side of Twitter trying to find something to complain about.”

And Dr Eugenia Kula wrote: As a South African I’m proud of you. You are an inspiration to young girls.”

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