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Oprah's 'O'cademy

1/2/2007 4:24 PM PST BY TMZ STAFF

Just call it the Oprah Winfrey School for Girls.

The billionaire talk show diva opened a school in a small town south of Johannesburg, South Africa today. The school for underprivileged girls boasts computer and science laboratories, a library and theater, and was built as a result of a meeting between Winfrey and the country's former President, Nelson Mandela.

The event was attended in South Africa by celebs Mariah Carey, Tina Turner, Chris Tucker, Mary J. Blige and Spike Lee.

Of her decision to open a school in South Africa instead of the U.S., Winfrey dissed American kids by telling Newsweek, "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."

176 COMMENTS

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31.

Charles Weepner    

The school is not build in Johannesburg, but in the town of Meyerton near Vereeniging, about 60 Km from Johannesburg

2852 days ago
32.

Jess    

I couldn't agree with Oprah more. American's are so jaded about the world around them. All anybody wants is more upgraded technology so they can brag about it to their friends. There are so many more important things in the world then the newset iPod or a hooked up car. Kudos to Oprah for speaking her mind. Those who find offense to it are those whom she is talking about. Instead of complaining that she's not helping you and your children out, how about you get off your lazy butt and do something about it. There was a time when Oprah had even less then you do, so don't think that you have it bad. She did the right thing and made something of herself, and you should do the same.

2852 days ago
33.

Charlotte    

What the hell is wrong with you people?????? How DARE Oprah say such crap about children in the United States. She doesn't deem them worthy? Screw her!!! Oprah admits herself she wasn't the most well behaved child. Had someone approached her and ask what she wanted you know damn well she wouldn't have said "I long for a good education" That is just crap!

How dare Oprah criticize others for longing for material items as she walks around with handbags, clothes, shoes worth thousands. She owns multiple multi million dollar homes. How dare her look down her nose and say an American child isn't worthy of a good education.

MY GAWD WHAT A B!TCH SHE IS!!!!!! I have zero respect for this aggrogant woman.

2852 days ago
34.

Message In A Bottle    

Ok, for those of you dissing on Oprah, let me tell you, she is right on the dot about the majority of schoolkids. These kids look up to "celebs" like Hilton, Lohan, and all those other crap Hollywood starlets that are always out partying and worry about popularity and all that BS...these kids are lacking in education and so much more and she's putting her money to good use...its funny how people complain celebs never give enough and when they do, POOF more criticism, its ridiculous. If your so concerned about humanitarian aid, instead of bitching, why don't you get off you ass and do something about it? When I was younger in catechism, our teachers would take us to food kitchens to help those out in our own community, sure we didn't build a whole school, but it felt good knowing I was helping cook and serve food for those less fortunate. Remember, a little goes a long way.

2852 days ago
35.

RJH    

I meant to write that I go to a private school in NY that Oprah visited and basically copied her school in South Africa after. The founder of my school put about 1 Billion dollars into my school over the short time it has been open. The founder of my school is not famous. There are schools like this in America and even my school gets so much redicule! There has been a great increase in the wealthy class of America and of course there is only a select amount of people who actually practice philantropy and use there extra money for something good. It's funny though how much Oprah used my school to design her school, literally for a good month the Oprah foundation would have weekly meetings at the school I attend. Its kind of hard to understand why there is so much money put into these kind of schools, but it really does foster a positive mentality. My school has more than half the student body on financial aid and the aid all comes from benefits given at the school and money from the founder! Oprah has only spent 40 million dollars but believe me she will be spending more and more. My school was about that in the beginning and it takes almost 10 million give or take a million. The founder has put in a billion of her own money over the last 10 years it has been open and there has been even more money from parents and foundations. I sure hope Oprah understands that a school like the one I go to is a commitment that is life long and extremely finacially draining! I recieve over 75% finacial aid too at my school, the tuition a year is $23,000

2852 days ago
36.

Rebecca    

My heart is happy for the girls that are so fortunate to attend Oprah's school.
It's astounding that anyone has the nerve to see any negativity in this amazing endouver.

2852 days ago
37.

stoopit    

did anyone see her south african show the other day? she kept slipping in to this South African accent whenever she talked to the children, but would speak with no accent while conversing with anyone on her staff. Whatever Oprah, I don't care for you but at least kids are benefitting from your situation.

2852 days ago
38.

steph    

#4....i COMPLETLY agree....i was gunna say somethin along the same terms but yeah u pretty much said it.....well done

2852 days ago
39.

Roxanne    

#4 to answer your question. The reason that celebrities donate to Africa (and other countries outside the USA) because the people there are grateful for the donation. Oprah is right when she said that kids in the U.S. all they want is an ipod and sneakers. They don't realize the value of an education. They want to look sharp, without working hard. That has a lot to do with the media and parents. See kids in Africa realizes that materials come and go, but education is far more richer. That and you walking around with an ipod in Africa you more than likely get jumped and killed over it. No one kills or jumps someone over having an education.

2852 days ago
40.

TH    

Oprah has a contemptable disregard towards the poor children in America, regardless of their skin color. Her assinine comment about what American kids would want (e.g. iPod) shows her ignorance, arrogance and how far from reality she is. The fact that she spent so much money on this pulicity stunt proves how idiotic and over exposed she is. Does she have a clue as to how many poor children could've been helped out a lot more than just the few kids she's claims she's helping out in South Africa? She would've done better to see to it that this money gets distributed to the starving in Sudan or Darfur, instead "helping" a meager handful in South Africa. How about your own country missy? She wasn't this generous with all the Katrina victims, white and black. Perhaps Winfrey is trying to buy back some of the guilt she's experienced for making so much, while so many continue without or who are on a limited means, again, regardless of their skin color. Talk about a tax write off!!

TH

2852 days ago
41.

sue    

I think what Oprah is doing is great. For many years I have shopped for Christmas anonymous is my very small town. This year one of the tags on the tree was for a 9 year old girl who wanted a cell phone, iPod, digital camera and many more things. I was really shocked that someone would ask for all those expenisve things from a stranger who was buying Christmas gifts for them. I think a lot of children in America aren't grateful for the things that are done for them, it seems like it's never enough and they always want more.

2852 days ago
42.

yacub    

#4, you and other fools need to git outa thinkin' with your asses, and use your brains. Talk to your President, why he's dumping Billions on Iraq, a losing war and ignoring poor kids and poor educations in the United sates? Diss Oprah all you want. The woman is god sent to humanities. It's good to know that the almighty God tests us with what he's given us, with free will. As to wheather you will use it to good or party with this life of vanity. Oprah knows her purpose in this life -- to do good with what God blessed her with. If you want to stretch that far off, take a look at Donald Trump, how many poor countries has he visited to see what the real world looks like? He breathes money all his life, and how much is never enough. I do hope he will one day, visit a grave yard, and try to re-focus his priorites objectively. LOVE YOU, O! Keep doing your good deeds, and let the haters suffer in silence. God Bless.

2852 days ago
43.

Uh...    

Hey 'whatever!'....

You're 100% on with your comments. I volunteered a lot too in local public schools (on the west coast) and I stopped because instead of feeling like I was making a difference, I felt like a free babysitter for a bunch of juvenile delinqents/spoiled brats who don't give two sh*ts about their education. For every child that is driven and does well in school, there are two that could care less and fail. And this was at a predominately white school in the 'burbs. Parents in America need to start being parents and holding their kids accountable for their actions.

2852 days ago
44.

You People Are Stupid!!!    

There are 40,000,000 reasons why your reporting on Oprah stinks! Agree or disagree with her remarks (which are being slightly taken out of context) - you don't dis people out there trying to make a positive difference... your grandma should have taught you that!

2852 days ago
45.

annie leifgins    

I applaud Oprah for putting forth her financial resources and personal energy to build a school to offer educational opportunities to 150 extremely poor South African girls.
Being one who likes to stretch a dollar and maximize my return on an investment, it would make more sense to me if Oprah built a less luxurious/opulant school and was able to help meet the needs of a greater number of South African children (even including boys). The needs of these children might be better met by emphasizing education, citizenship, team building, compassion and a work ethic rather than conspicuous consumption, being pampered and lusting after a lifestyle such as Paris Hilton's. One of Oprah's chosen extolled to the press that she was going to be living like a movie star. It would have resonated better with me if this girl expressesd excitement over having the opportunity for an education which will lead to an opportunity to help others who are less fortunate in her country. Oprah often speaks of service as being the highest calling but it sounds like these children are being groomed to be self-indulgent spoiled children.
It's my hope that Oprah consults with her experts on how to raise self-reliant children instead of self indulging ones.

2852 days ago
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