Oprah Winfrey's own story is an inspiration because she overcame almost every obstacle that a person might face. She is an icon to people all over the world because of her commitment to help those who have faced similar obstacles. We therefore salute a friend and a role model.
It is said over and over, but it is always true that young people are the future. Oprah, 53, shared our views that the gains of our democracy would be nullified if we did not properly educate our children and youth. She obviously recognized the potential in our youth. The Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girlslocated near Johannesburg and educating girls in Grades 7 through 12is therefore a wonderfully appropriate gift to the people of South Africa, one that will endure over many lifetimes.
When I went to the opening of her school, I looked at the shining faces of these young women and thought every one of them has the potential to be an Oprah Winfrey. The school is important because it will change the trajectory of these girls' lives and it will brighten the future of all women in South Africa.
Oprah understands that in Africa, women and girls have often been doubly disadvantaged. They have had the curse of low expectations and unequal opportunities. She is a model for all of themand for all of usof what one person can do to make a difference in the lives of others. That is why we consider her to be one of our heroes.
Mandela was President of South Africa from 1994 to 1999
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