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When you invest in girls you invest in a nation

HENLEY-ON-KLIP. – Television icon and business leader Oprah Winfrey celebrated the first graduating class of The Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls in South Africa recently.

All the graduates have been accepted to college or university, including top schools in the United States and South Africa. More than a dozen have received full scholarships.
Winfrey arrived in South Africa for the graduation ceremony at the school in Henley-on-Klip, to create what she described as a “final lasting moment” for the 72 girls who achieved a 100% pass rate in last year’s Senior National Certificate examinations and produced 188 matriculation distinctions between them.
“The pride that I feel today is overpowering,” Winfrey told her guests, who included the students, their parents and relatives.
“I have been on a mission my whole life to be able to give back what I have been given. Today I am fulfilling that mission. This class will prove that when you invest in the leadership of girls, you invest in a nation.”
Winfrey also used the opportunity to thank Mr Nelson Mandela, who served as an inspiration in establishing the academy.
Winfrey concluded by noting how she has been enhanced as a person through her time spent with the girls.
Present at the ceremony was Mr Mandela’s wife, Graca Machel, who gave the keynote address and serves on the board of directors of the academy.
Machel, who has a post-graduate scholarship for African Women named in her honour to train women in areas of health and education, emphasized the importance of women’s leadership in ensuring Africa’s prosperity.
Also among the guests at the ceremony was South Africa’s Minister of Basic Education, Ms Angie Motshekga.
Two of the girls were honored with special awards. Bongeka Zuma, from Nkwezela in Kwa-Zulu Natal achieved six distinctions. She is considering the study of Political Science at Spelman University in the United States of America and received the Dux award for Academic Excellence.
The Oprah Winfrey Leadership Award, voted for by peers and teachers, was given to Marwiya James. She scored distinctions in Afrikaans, Accounting, Life Orientation, Business  Studies and Visual Arts. She now plans to return to her native province of the Western Cape, where she hails from Mitchell’s Plain, to study at the University of Cape Town to become a Chartered Accountant.
Source: vaalweekblad.com