Oprah fete with first graduates of SA school
AFP PHOTO/STR US talk show queen and media mogul Oprah Winfrey (R) gestures upon arrival to meeti with the first graduates of the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls, founded five years ago to turn a handful of impoverished girls into elite leaders, in Henley-on-Klip, on January 14, 2012. Founded in 2007 with $40 million from Winfrey, the school has faced criticism for focusing on a select few -- there are 72 girls in the first graduating class -- in a country that struggles to meet basic education needs.
Posted Saturday, January 14 2012 at 17:16
US talk show queen Oprah Winfrey was in tears on Saturday as the first graduates of her South African girls' academy thanked her for her effort to turn a handful of impoverished girls into elite leaders
Beaming, in a turquoise dress, with the 72 graduates sitting behind her in white, Winfrey, whose rise to stardom and an estimated fortune of $2.7 billion followed a deprived childhood in Mississippi, spoke of why she decided to open the school with a $40-million investment in 2007.
"I know that education is the door to freedom," she said.
"So I want to do that for girls who come from backgrounds like my own, who have disadvantaged circumstances but no disadvantaged attitudes or brainpower or spirit. I want to give them the chance that I was given."
Winfrey, 58, told the story of how she mentioned to Nelson Mandela over tea at his house one day that she was interested in building a girls' school in South Africa.
The country's first black president jumped up and immediately called then-education minister Kader Asmal, she said. By that evening Winfrey was in a planning meeting with him.
"I really thought one day I would build a school -- I didn't mean that day," she joked.
Speaking at the idyllic campus of the school, the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls -- which boasts computer and science laboratories, a 600-seat theatre and a 10,000-volume library -- Winfrey defended the idea of investing lavishly in a small group of promising young women.
The school has faced criticism for focusing on a select few in a country that struggles to meet basic education needs.
"We are in the leadership building business. We are in the business of creating assets for girls so they don't have to just use their bodies but they go out into the world and use their minds," she said.
Other Recent Top Ajabu News
Court: Kenya's polls in 2013 unless coalition collapses
JSC wants Kenyan Deputy CJ out
New Hampshire city debates moratorium on refugees
Miguna Miguna interview on Raila Odinga's 'inconsistencies'
Nigeria's Arab spring? Fuel subsidy cuts spur protests
First lady dismisses 'angry black woman' portrayal
Al-Shabaab executes ‘Kenyan spy’
Embassy denies mistreating Ugandans in UAE
Kenyan MP hints at possible coalition with Raila Odinga's ODM
I will not contest against Museveni again – Besigye
Guinea-Bissau leader Malam Bacai Sanha dies in Paris
Mandela's life story to be turned into TV series
Beyonce gives birth to girl: reports
Black fraternities form Obama Super PAC
USCIS proposes change to keep families together
Make New Year resolutions that can last- Fr. Mwai
Careers:Tax Preparers, Insurance Agents, Contributors
Back to home page