15 Oprah Winfrey quotes and anecdotes from her #IsithunzisaBafazi speech

Oprah Winfrey
Oprah Winfrey

Seasoned broadcaster Redi Tlhabi served as the MC and moderator to a panel made up of activist Josina Machel, Graca Machel and Executive Director of UN Women Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka.

As expected, Mama Oprah's speech stole the show and Josina Machel sharing her firsthand account with abuse was an eye-opener to many. Oprah — who is mourning her mother Vernita Lee who passed away on Thursday, 22 November 2018 — was on her 46th visit to South Africa.

1. "Madiba wasn't allowed to raise his children, but instead he raised a whole nation. His goodness, soul and integrity could not be limited by a prison cell."

2. “Madiba didn't pass away. He passed through us. We are his children. His legacy speaks to us.”

3. As part of one of her many charitable causes, Winfrey once decided to buy underprivileged children books. When asked, "Why are you buying children books, it's not sustainable?" She retorted with, "But the memory will be sustainable."

4. While renovating her Los Angeles home in 2007, upon realising that the builders wouldn't finish by their promised deadline, Oprah decided to visit South Africa on a whim. Nelson Mandela, refusing that she book into a hotel, invited her to stay at his home in Qunu.

A shocked Oprah remembers saying to her life partner Steadman Graham: "I don't have 10 days and nights worth of conversation with Madiba," to which Steadman responded: "It's Nelson Mandela, you don't have to talk. Why don't you just listen?"

"In those 10 days, I shared 29 meals with Madiba and we grew so comfortable with each other that we would sometimes sit and read in absolute silence."

5. Speaking on the importance of being of service to others, Winfrey said that as soon as she started making enough money to sustain herself, she pondered on ways to be of service to others. "As soon as my bills were paid, I asked myself: Who else can I serve? How can I be used for something greater than myself? To quote another great leader Dr Martin Luther King Jnr: 'Not everyone can be famous, but everyone can be great because greatness is determined by service.'"

READ MORE: "Women will save South Africa" - Oprah Winfrey

6. I hope we’ll be able to create a culture that recognises the responsibility we have for one another.

 7. "When you learn, you teach others. When you get, you give others."

8.  “Madiba was deeply troubled by poverty in South Africa. I told him that the only answer to eradicating poverty for good was education. And I proceeded to tell him that I wanted to build a school for girls in South Africa because women are going to save this country.”

9. “When I built the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls, I wanted to create a platform for girls who looked like me and who come from the same background as me who didn't have the means but the mental willpower to make it in life.”

10. “I used to be so scared of people saying that I was full of myself until I realised that unless you're full, you don't have enough to give anyone else. If you give from an empty place it will wear you out. When people tell you that you're full of yourself, tell them ‘honey my cup is so full, it is running over’.”

READ MORE: Oprah, Reese Witherspoon, Sarah Jessica Parker and more celebs have book clubs - which one should you belong to?

11. “There isn't one thing that happened to you, that didn't happen for you. Everything happened to build your strength and that strength equals power.” 

12. “Every time I'm the only woman in the boardroom or the only person of colour I whisper the Maya Angelou quote, ‘I come as one, but I stand so ten thousand. Who are YOUR ten thousand?” 

13. “There's power in telling your story. A story can liberate you. Allow yourself to open up the story.”

14. “Failure is a mistake trying to move you in a different direction. In Madiba’s word: ‘A winner is a dreamer who never gives up.’

15. “Have an opportunity to learn from every mistake. In Madiba’s words, ‘I never lose. I either win or learn.’”

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For 14 free days, you can have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today. Thereafter you will be billed R75 per month. You can cancel anytime and if you cancel within 14 days you won't be billed. 
Subscribe to News24