News24

School's out for 1st Oprah Winfrey class

2011-11-30 21:59

Henley-on-Klip - The first graduating pupils at Oprah Winfrey's school for South African girls have finished their exams, with all of them set for university studies, the head of the academy said on Wednesday.

Results of their final exams will only be released in January, but all 72 pupils at the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls are set for further studies either in South Africa or abroad, Anne van Zyl said in a statement.

"This is, of course, an extra special time for the school as well as the girls," she said.

"This year marks an important milestone in bringing to fruition the vision of our founder, Oprah Winfrey.

"In just five years the academy has established itself as a place that nurtures talent and excellence. As a school we've come through some important challenges and learned lessons along the way," Van Zyl said.

The girls now plan to study everything from medicine and law to arts and engineering, the statement said. Several have won full scholarships, others are still waiting for decisions on bursaries.

Two are set to attend American universities, eight are headed to schools in other countries, and 62 have been accepted at South African universities.

The multi-million-rand school, founded with Winfrey's own money, opened in 2007 in a ceremony attended by ex-president Nelson Mandela.

The initial classes of girls at the school were aged between 11 and 13, chosen after an initial 3 500 applications, with Winfrey choosing the final 152 for their academic and leadership qualities as well as their disadvantaged background.

Harsh attention

One of the pupils, Mpumi Nobiva, was raised by her grandmother in a neighbourhood beset by poverty and crime after her mother died of Aids, AP reported on Wednesday.

Now one of the first to graduate from the school, she is headed to Johnson C Smith University in Charlotte, North Carolina, to  study visual and performing arts.

Winfrey will be at the school for graduation ceremonies in January, school officials said on Wednesday.

The school has drawn sometimes harsh attention because of the celebrity who founded it, and also because of early problems.

Pupils have been accused of being spoiled. Allegations that a woman employed to care for the girls in their dormitory had instead abused teens were the subject of headlines around the world.

The woman was acquitted last year.

Earlier this year, a newborn born to a pupil at the school was found dead, again drawing international attention.

"Yes, we've had bad coverage," Nobiva said. "But it has certainly made us stronger."

Comments
  • Impi - 2011-12-01 01:31

    Had this been an article about Malema, there would be hundreds of comments on here. This just shows how interested South Africa, all races, are in education. I'm not a Winfrey fan because I think deep down she is a racist, but at least a few kids got an opportunity to really better themselves. Pity this school wasn't created for all races and other deserving kids from poor backgrounds could also benefit from her deep pockets. There are more people than just us blacks in this country and we are all affected by the past and more importantly by the present,which is actually a reverse of our past. I stopped watching any of Winfrey's programs because I believe that her Presidential campaign she ran on her show for Obama emphasised her racism. Hilary Clinton would have been a far better President and that was what America needed. They needed a President, not their usual hypocritical cr@p they sell the world. They still to this day have Native Indian reservations, so this black President issue was nothing more than a farce. But good luck to these girls. Pity a few boys didn't get the opportunity as well, so that makes her a biased feminist in my eyes as well.

      Paul - 2011-12-01 04:43

      The stereotypes generally don't believe blacks should be educated hence the absence of the normal rhetoric.

      MajorDad - 2011-12-01 06:36

      It is important to see that only the best, selected candidates were granted entry. The selected pupils seem to have achieved and this allows a reflection to all. If you work hard with commitment; both inward and external, that you will earn further opportunities. Well done. We should apply these criteria to all "public" monies and may see the final product showing improvement. The SANDF could well benefit from this selection process for the Mil Skills Dev System. MSDS.

      PB - 2011-12-01 10:37

      @MajorDad In the Olden Days, South African universities also had basic entry requirements. Our degrees actually meant something in the eyes of the world then. Now the kids get passed through school whether or not they put in the work. By end of Gr 12, just because they Demand to go to the Big Puza Party at university, they are granted entry - at the expense of those who are acually able to do the work and pass their subjects. The fact that Oprah's school has stringent selection processes, just means that those who want it enough, will put in the work to get there.

      mmakgaboe - 2011-12-01 12:44

      "I'm not a Winfrey fan because I think deep down she is a racist" - But are we not all racists "deep down inside"? The fact that she campaigned for Obama does not qualify her to be regarded as a racist. She was promoting "Change" - something America and perhaps the rest of the world had a chance of witnessing in their lifetime (A black president). Yes, the same could be said about her supporting Hillary...BUT truth is we are all loyal to our race first before anything else. Non the less i agree with you with regards to her having done a wonderful deed by granting an opportunity to those less privileged irrespective of race - That right there shows how selfless she is

      Impi - 2011-12-01 13:07

      @mmakgaboe. America has stuck the Native Indians into reservations like Verwoerd did to our ancestors. The Indians are still in those reservations and it is 2011!!!! They are hypocrites and this black President issue was nothing else but a smoke screen for their biased racialism.

      Tumie - 2012-05-08 12:43

      Im sorry but who said that school is for black kids or whateva race only??? All races found in SA are found in that school...

  • Garth - 2011-12-01 06:52

    A pity, that with all Winfrey does, that so little of it is non-racial.

  • Henk - 2011-12-01 08:51

    Congratulations to the girls as well as the school. To all the people critisizing Winfrey; Has any of you helped even 1 child (other than your own) of any race, to get a better education and better opertunities in life?? We need more schools like this in our country...

      Impi - 2011-12-01 10:27

      Yes Henk, we are. I have two orphans which I am schooling. Do you for one minute think anybody but us cares about the 2 million orphan kids if we don't give them food and just about everybody I know has taken kids into their homes. Have you? You missed my point about Winfrey. She is a racist and a feminist. If she wasn't on a self glorification expedition, she would have opened a school for all races, all kids affected by poverty and also for boys. I had many female students at university with me doing very well. The way she goes on, on her show, one would think we don't allow any female in this country to further their education. Every "humanitarian" crusade she is on, is nothing but a publicity stunt for herself. Every "gift" she so lovingly hands out, is someone else's products they wish to promote. You really think she would buy 300 Volkswagens out of her own pocket? She is a very clever promotional tool of her own ego.

  • Xavier7034 - 2011-12-01 09:10

    We in SA could learn from the example of Costa Rica: "Costa Ricans are a highly literate people : the country boasts of 93% literacy in those 10 years of age or over, making them the most literate population in Central America. Many of the country’s early fathers like the first president, Jose Maria Castro, were former teachers who were concerned about the education in Costa Rica." So, the last 20 years have seen a significant boosts to educational standards. There are computers in each of the nation’s 4000 schools, plus obligatory English classes. Where did they find the money? - Costa Rica abolished the military, and the budget previously dedicated to the military now is dedicated to security, education and culture; and the country maintains Police Guard forces. Forget about Oprah......that has only produced 72 graduates after 5 years....what WE need in OUR country is an INTENSIVE drive to EDUCATE - we must ask ourselves...what are the MILITARY doing to BETTER this country? WE must wake up........getting HIGH speed Internet to EVERYBODY HAS to be a priority....EXCELLENT FREE Education is THERE - especially in Maths - just look at www.khanacademy.org and www.alison.com BOTH FREE! This "Government" should be ashamed of itself. They have had 17 years to change it, and the education system has gone into reverse!

      Sterling - 2011-12-01 09:33

      You are a talker and don't do,Oprah goes out and do.

  • tbooze - 2011-12-01 09:25

    positive story ,only 6 comment,it goes to show how negative people from this website are ,or maybe the its because the school is fool of black people ..............NEWS 24 please tell us about Julius Malema farting im sure there would be more than 300 comment in 30 minutes

  • petro.borchard - 2011-12-01 09:35

    Congratulations to all involved with this school. As Impi mentioned, not enough emphasis is on education in South Africa. As far as I can recall, there were (are?) a number of white kids in that school as well. I too think that Oprah is very racist, but if we were honest, so are all of us, to some degree. As for myself, I am very involved with a whites only children's home. Does this make me racist? There are thousands of needy kids of every race - difference between black and white children's homes - the white ones do not get government subsidy because of their choice to look after their own.

  • Giving - 2011-12-01 09:57

    Thanks Oprah, every individual has the obligation at least to uplift one person, it doesn't matter who and how, You have uplifted more than a soul, if only each one of us, instead of talking and proposing for others to do, just did one positive thing in the life of a neighbor, that would be enough to see the reality of transformation on earth.

  • Ndivhuho - 2011-12-01 10:57

    I for one appreacite what Oprah is doing irrespective of how biased it maybe. Its her money she has every right to choose who she gives it to and how she spends. I am happy she decided to empower our children irrespective of whether they are boys or gals. And I pray that God blesses her more so that she can continue making a differrence in people's lives.

  • Kobus - 2011-12-01 11:07

    Nice person she is but a racist still and a false prophet also leading people astray with all her new age junk.

      Impi - 2011-12-01 11:47

      Amazingly, when one travels to the States, and you tell them you are a South African, then they tell you that it is a pity we don't educate girls in this country. I heard this from at least 8 people. That is the message Oprah has brainwashed the gullible Americans with. She had to open a school for girls here, because we keep the women in a kraal in Transkei and don't allow then to go to school. She is projecting her own inferiority complex on us as a nation and uses us to promote her feminist extremist views. In the days I had to wash cars to get my education paid, it would have helped me nothing to write to her and tell her I needed help. I had the wrong stuff in my pants. She's a fake and on nothing else but a self glorifying crusade. Her shows became nothing else but inserts of people glorifying her and that is why she is reviving the show. She is addicted to the glorification and that just tells me she she needs some therapy to rid herself of her inferiority complex. If one watches her shows, you are ashamed being black because she portrays us as these helpless victims of white people's evil doings. I am a proud black man and proud of my black skin and I don't need her to paint us all, even black Americans, as these pathetic creatures. Sick of it and sick of her!

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