Skip Nav
The Royals
A Guide to Diana's Royal Titles
Celebrity PDA
Nev Schulman's Wedding Reception Was Just as In Your Face as You'd Expect
Maisie Williams
This Might Be the 1 Person Who Isn't on Arya Stark — Er, Maisie Williams's — Kill List

Oprah Opens A School

Oprah continues to spread goodwill around the world with her latest effort, a $40 million girls' school in South Africa. The school opened today with 152 students that were handpicked by Oprah herself. The school is called The Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls and came about due to a promise that Oprah made to Nelson Mandela six years ago to give students a better future. Here's more:

"I wanted to give this opportunity to girls who had a light so bright that not even poverty could dim that light," Winfrey said at a news conference.

Winfrey has said that she decided to build her own school because she wanted to feel closer to the people she was trying to help.

The $40 million academy aims to give 152 girls from deprived backgrounds a quality education in a country where schools are struggling to overcome the legacy of apartheid.

By educating girls, Winfrey said she hoped she could help "change the face of a nation."

"Girls who are educated are less likely to get HIV/ AIDS, and in this country which has such a pandemic, we have to begin to change the pandemic," she said.

Looks like Oprah is kicking off the year doing what she does best - giving back. Of course part of this good deed comes from frustration in the states. Oprah said, "I became so frustrated with visiting inner-city schools that I just stopped going. The sense that you need to learn just isn't there," she says. "If you ask the kids what they want or need, they will say an iPod or some sneakers. In South Africa, they don't ask for money or toys. They ask for uniforms so they can go to school. For more pics of Oprah plus Chris Rock, Gayle King, Babyface and Mariah just












Join The Conversation
shuckadeee shuckadeee 10 years
I admire Oprah for she does for those people who need it most. I also think that she is a great role model for all of us girls out there. I watch her show every single day. I think she's one heck of a woman, she's just so real.
cravinsugar cravinsugar 10 years
While I respect her for what she has done, admire it and appreciate it, I am just not a big oprah fan. Sometimes I think i just want to smack her or something and i would feel much better. I'm all in.
cari907 cari907 10 years
y is she not president?
brokenhalo brokenhalo 10 years
Yeah, I think the problem is that it's illegal to make anyone get an HIV test, I remember that radio ad, I think they were playing it on 5fm, that was saying how people running a business/school weren't allowed to force their employees/pupils to have AIDS tests, or even require it. But Oprah is American & maybe that's ok in US law, so i dunno...
teddybear teddybear 10 years
go Oprah!
Ayanda Ayanda 10 years
Read a few articles. Apparently Oprah's said that having the girls tested for HIV will help "the girls at her academy live happy and successful lives." She hasn't said anything about what will happen if any test positive. This isn't looking too good!!!
Ayanda Ayanda 10 years
That really sucks, but I don't want to comment until I've checked it out. I'll get back to you all.
geebies geebies 10 years
Wow, didn't know about the HIV testing. Do you think it is to exclude them or get them meds and medical attention??
brokenhalo brokenhalo 10 years
Ditto Ayanda. I also think that the fact that an American celebrity is doing something like this in SA, will encourage South African celebrities/business people etc to follow suit in their own country. Oprah is planning to increase the enrolment of this school to 450 pupils & is also planning on opening a co-ed school for 1000 pupils in KwaZulu-Natal (another province in SA). The only thing that I do have a problem with is that Oprah is requiring that these girls be tested for HIV, this is making headlines all over our country because it goes against the constitution, and it shouldn't matter anyway if they are HIV positive because it is illegal to turn a child away from a school because of their HIV status. I think it's great that Oprah wants to do charity work in other countries, but she still needs to respects the laws of those countries!
Luna13 Luna13 10 years
i think its great whats she doing, this woman is one of a kind and instead of finding silly faults in her i think we should thank and praise her.
JennaV JennaV 10 years
I like Oprah and I think she is awesome for doing this....but it is kinda wonky that she named the school after herself?
atoxicsparkle atoxicsparkle 10 years
Yay for doing good! Good needs to be done all over the world, not just here.
Ayanda Ayanda 10 years
I'm not a huge fan of Oprah's but I am a fan of the work that she does. At the end of the day what matters the most is to try to affect as many lives as possible. As a Black South African female, I can tell you that what this school will do for these girl is unimaginable. A lot of people are criticising her for comments made about American schools etc, lets just look at the good that she is doing for these kids and stop with all the negativity. Being black, poor and female in South Africa is as good as a death sentence. the chances of your life amounting to anything is slim to nonexistent. What Oprah has given to these girls is literally a lifeline!!!
flutterpie flutterpie 10 years
1) being poor in the us is not the same as being poor in africa, most girls do not get an education and are forced (do not choose) to drop out at a very young age because they are pregnant (sex education is nil in africa)or they need to take care of their family because a family member is ill (disease runs rampant in africa. 2)if i spend 40 million dollars on anything im not naming it after rosa parks, great lady but she didnt spend 40 million dollars 3)this is not just a school for these girls, its a new life, i believe its a boarding school and it teaches them things that will hopefully allow these girls to go to college and have careers. you cannot build something like that for a hundred grand i know he thinks you're fine and stuff but does he know how to wind you up?
ohshqipe ohshqipe 10 years were saying? What a crap! A 40 million $ school in Africa for 125 people which she handpicked???!!! What in hell is that! Do u have any idea how many schools without Mariah Carey in it, could have been build in Africa with that amount of money ???? It doesnt take more then 100.000$ to build a simple school there so u do the math...400 schools she could have build.Instead she had to make it look larger then life as always.Oh Vanity! Cant believe she HANDPICKED them. I didnt know they were having an audition. Blah blah blah...she is doin this for the poor.If I made billions I'll give millions also.Ppl who help others, dont put cameras in their faces so everybody can see.A lot of celebrities do help others and do not talk about it. Look at the press conference, even the wallpaper is pricey. I like Oprah but this is bad,really bad.And as for those others.DUDES! U cant wear freaking Armani when u act like u're trying to help ppl that have never seen a fully roasted chichken in their life.No matter what they to hard to believe they're there for that.And for once in her life,couldn't Mariah cover something.U know...they got spiders
canthelpwatching canthelpwatching 10 years
AND if she doesnt want people in the US to tell her they want material things like iPods and sneakers when she asks them what they want, she should stop giving away millions of dollars of loot every year on her show. Maybe the poor kids she asked were hoping that they were on a special show where she granted their material wishes. Isnt that what everyone hopes for when they're an audience member on her show? Why wouldnt the kids in the inner city be different? Im done.
canthelpwatching canthelpwatching 10 years
I didnt say that she shouldnt have built the school. I think it's lovely to do service for others. But I do think it was a RUDE and INSENSITIVE thing of her to say about inner city schools, teachers, and students. Things like that are hurtful to those of us who sacrificed to try to make things better. It has nothing to do with how much money her current project costs. It has everything to do with having to put someone down to justify her current actions. Couldnt she have just said why she wanted to do the school in Africa? If someone had asked her why she didnt do it in the US, she could have said what so many of you said about her already giving tons to schools here. Instead she chose to put down the schools, administrators, teachers, students, parents, volunteers, etc. in the inner city to justify to the press why she spent so much in Africa. That was rude and very Oprah. I hope the girls in her school are happy with the nail salon and never ask for an iPod. Will she close down the school in angst?
Huckleberry Huckleberry 10 years
My cousin is in Africa working on the documentary of this school. She has been there for about 8 weeks. She has been so excited about this project since before she started working on it. I am an Oprah supporter, who else is going to help these girls...
JK-Boogie JK-Boogie 10 years
Some people just can't do right for doing wrong.....I wish you would all just see this as it attempt to help people....why should Oprah build schools in the US....isn't this the role of the US government? Why should she do their job. African countries and governments do not have $40m to build schools...$40m is probably less than Bush spent on his campaign to get into government.....I said probably
JK-Boogie JK-Boogie 10 years
Madonna has not built her school yet.....I will bet money it has her name on it. The Jolie Pitts have some building named after them both so those posting it is only Trump and Oprah who put their name on anything should do some research before post.
Ginger Ginger 10 years
I don't think anyone here thought this isn't a good thing. I even said it was a great thing in my first post.
hotstuff hotstuff 10 years
I've seen reports on Oprahs show that have pleaded with society to take a look at our schools in America. Oprah has done so on several occasions. She's had shows exposing our dilapidated schools and how some schools are fabulous with great teachers and other schools don't have heat or books. She had a special dedicated to helping our students just this past year. She opened my eyes to the condition our schools are in even the ones just down the street from the white house. Oprah has and will always try to help others get ahead especially school children. I think its unfair to make a "seemingly blanketed assertion" over one quote considering all that she has done.
EdwinaTheLovely EdwinaTheLovely 10 years
My issue, and my only issue is her seemingly blanketed assertion that all schools in "the innercity" are full of kids who have no interest in learning, and who are more interested in the material here and now. Some will say, "people are smarter than that and realise she was speaking from isolated personal experience." Lol! Yeah, ok, and I will tell you those people who live or work in it. I know different, and I'm just disappointed that she would paint the picture she has with that one statement. Trust me that it was seriously debated today out here in the real world. Her words made a lot of kids who do put their backs into learning feel like they've been dumped back into a pot they've worked hard to climb out of.
BlondeSugar BlondeSugar 10 years
I agree DulceSkye. Regardless of her motives, by doing this she is improving the lives of these girls, so more power to her.
DulceSkye DulceSkye 10 years
I'm just happy for those girls. Not sure what Oprah's motives are...if it's to increase her large sense of self importance, or a genuine need to help...but the important thing is that these girls are getting an opportunity for a better life.
Oprah's Scrambled Eggs Recipe
Oprah Says She Doesn't Regret Not Having Kids
Inspirational Black History Month Quotes
Oprah's Unfried Chicken Recipe
From Our Partners
Latest Celebrity & Entertainment
All the Latest From Ryan Reynolds