Meghan made the comment during a roundtable discussion in Johannesburg on gender-based violence and how to tackle it. The event was hosted by ActionAid, a non-profit that supports the rights of women and girls.

Rachel Jewkes, executive scientist for research strategy at the South African Medical Research Council, had been speaking to the Duchess about how gender-based violence needed to be tackled across all age groups at schools and mentioned new projects that encouraged building healthy relationships with the assistance of parents.

Meghan agreed, responding: “We need a shift in that paradigm. You can’t do that without some of the cultural context. To your point, it is at a crisis state here and the age range that it is happening at is really staggering.”

The Duchess then followed up by asking about the progress the organization had observed.

Earlier Tuesday, Meghan returned to her official duties after a few days off with a visit to the University of Johannesburg. Welcomed by scores of well-wishers, the Duchess participated in a conversation with educators and students at the college, which is part of the Association of Commonwealth Universities (ACU).

The ACU — which Meghan became the patron of in January — advocates for access to higher education and promotes international collaboration. On her arrival, she was met by Joana Newman, ACU’s secretary general.

During the visit, Meghan announced a series of new “gender grants” for the University of Johannesburg, Stellenbosch University and the University of Western Cape.

“True to what you said, when a women is empowered it changes absolutely everything in the community and starting an educational atmosphere is really a key point of that,” she said during the meeting, according to Britain’s PA Media news outlet.

PA also reported that the Duchess said she had been able to go to college because of financial assistance and “families chipping in.”

“If you don’t have the support that is necessary that you feel that you can keep taking the next step then you’re stunted in growth,” the Duchess said.

Yesterday, Meghan stepped out for a surprise visit to Victoria Yards, an inner-city regeneration initiative that is home to design studios, art galleries and other creative spaces, ahead of her first official engagements on Tuesday. The Duchess toured a number of local businesses and was pictured doling out hugs to children.
During the Sussexes’ 10-day tour, their four-month-old Archie delighted royal fans after making his debut at a meeting with Archbishop Desmond Tutu. Harry made a poignant trip to the same famous spot where his mother, the late Princess Diana, walked through a live minefield 22 years ago, and Meghan focused on raising awareness over gender-based issues.

Harry is due to reunite with his family in Johannesburg later on Tuesday after spending the last several days visiting Botswana, Angola and Malawi. Harry wrapped up the Malawi leg of the tour on Tuesday with a final engagement at a remote health clinic in Blantyre.

Also while in Malawi, Harry guest-curated National Geographic’s Instagram account for the day as part of a campaign encouraging people to “share the beauty of trees.”

CNN’s David Wilkinson contributed to this report.

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