Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls – South Africa

In 2007 a number of young South African girls from disadvantaged backgrounds were presented with a remarkable opportunity to obtain an outstanding education. The Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy, located in Henley-on-Klip in Meyerton, South Africa, aims to nurture the country’s future leaders who would otherwise not have had the benefit of a good education. The school was opened on Tuesday 2 January 2007 with a star-studded event and much excitement.

For many years Oprah Winfrey had the goal of creating a high-standard school to educate gifted girls of South Africa who come from impoverished homes. The Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls in South Africa is under the management of the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy Foundation. The Academy in Meyerton houses only the best facilities including residences, a dining hall, a wellness center, gymnasium, library, theater and so forth. Academically skilled girls attending the Academy will be helped to develop their potential to the full in intellectual, leadership and social spheres. 152 girls were carefully selected to start at the Leadership Academy in 2007. The group will be entering grade 7 and grade 8. In the years to follow the Academy will eventually provide some 450 disadvantaged girls with a top-class education. Teachers and administrators from South Africa have been chosen according to strict standards. The curriculum of the Leadership Academy includes subjects such as mathematics, languages, social science, natural science, arts, culture and life orientation. The predominant theme across all aspects of the school is that of leadership development.

Oprah Winfrey received much praise from South Africa’s former president and world renowned humanitarian, Nelson Mandela. He was reported as stating: “Oprah is not only investing in a few young individuals, but in the future of our country”. He exclaimed how indebted South Africans are to Oprah’s fine efforts.

The opening of the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy in South Africa was attended by a large number of celebrities. Amongst the ranks of stars were Mary J. Blige, Babyface, Tina Turner, Mariah Carey, Sydney Poitier and Chris Rock. Accompanying the Hollywood celebrities was Wangami Matai, a Nobel Laureate and Dr. Andrew Young, South Africa’s previous US ambassador. All who attended the marvelous event enjoyed a great performance by India Arie. The Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy is set to produce a generation of well educated leaders, certain to bring countless benefits to South Africa.