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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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121.

Allred Tree    

#135 = just the facts, I was clarifying my previous post #132. Look up Jim Bakker and Jim Jones for all the gory details. My point is Oprah is almost becoming "cult like IMO." She is so full of herself and seems to need CONSTANT ATTENTION and ADULATION. Look at the pink dress she is wearing at this opening. She must think she is the Queen of South Africa. Why not a nice business suit; it would be much more appropriate. And, imo. these "uniforms" are hideous.
Oprah thinks she is the epitome of taste and class but nothing is further from the truth. Just watch the way she eats (if you can stand to) the next time you have the unfortunate bad luck to see this on t.v.

2787 days ago
122.

Muzik    

You all need to get your facts straight. Oprah does donate millions to U.S. causes and even had a 2 day special on her show that highlighted the problems with the U.S. education system and its problems. The issue with the U.S. is not lack of schools or lack of education. The problem is that education isn't equal for all students. Oprah is not the president. If you have a problem with the U.S. school system, you should be writing to your elected officials who can enact bills and laws.

In the place where Oprah built the school, those girls have no hope and no opportunity. Even though there may be obstacles in the U.S., there is always an opportunity. The school DOES NOT EXCLUDE WHITES and I saw a picture of a white female student. Oprah is also planning another school for boys and girls. In the U.S. there are boys' and girls' schools, so don't complain about Oprah's all female school if you aren't complaing about non co-ed U.S. schools. Africa is the homeland of blacks so doesn't it make sense that most of the students would be black???????

2787 days ago
123.

Ronald    

Africa is not not a coutry but a continent. made up of 52 countries

2787 days ago
124.

homegirl101    

Nik, Muzik ...thank you, I have been in defense of what you have...both mirrored...regarding my comments..of Oprah...if you have read the posts.....I welcome the support..it is not right that her name is abused with all she does to help everyone...the comment's are ridiculous...

Heidi...why does she have to answer to any race....and what do you call the white race...if not white..
what do you call the black race.....when referring to the black race ????
excuse typos...

2787 days ago
125.

sara    

For Nik:

If the reason there are no white girls is what you say...then why didnt Oprah just say something of that nature.??? OHH No, her response is she doesnt have to appease white people. I feel that when someone doesnt answer the question directly--it is because they know they are wrong and cannot defend it. It is clear to me--and many others---that she is a racist. I will no longer watch her show or buy her magazines.

What did everyone say in New Orleans when there were so many black people in need of rescue? That became a black rights issue. So why isnt it right for white people to say -why arent there any white girls in her academy?

What is happening in south africa shouldnt be a black/white issue. It should be for poverty whether you are black or white.

2787 days ago
126.

homegirl101    

Posted at 4:13PM on Jan 4th 2007 by woot woot!..Spehanie..few others here...

right on...
I think the comment O made about American kids want ing IPODS, Africans want to go to school is totally misunderstood here....
I hear something totally different there...it's a senerio...it's a comparison....for God's sake...think about it...those kids wouldn't know what to do with an Ipod, or new Nike's....they just want to be able to go to school....what's so hard to understand....how sad is that..how different we are , our lives....it's about moving forward....not lagging behind.....

The youth in this country ..are rude, obnoxious kids raising themselves...no manners, culture, or life skills,...and an education in this country is free....they would rather drop out...and smoke dope...all day...please...

Give a man a fish, he'll eat for a day. Teach a man how to fish, he'll eat for a ...lifetime....
We are all one.....I don't understand what other's cannot see, I only speak for myself....my fellow man...and I am blessed and fortunate...help those who cannot help themselves....so they can move forward..Peace.....

2786 days ago
127.

Joanne    

I read on the internet something about Oprah supporting Britney. If it is true it s totally ridiculous. Brit popped out 2 babies at 24, 25(age) , with a talentless jerk. Aside from that Brit rides in the car w/ her baby in her lap and she doesnt get arrested. Now she s out all night w/ Paris, Lindsay, and whoever wearing no underwear and doing God knows what. Brit has plenty of money and family who can support her. If the thing about Oprah helping the Brit., is true, its totally ridiculous.

2786 days ago
128.

Nik    

Responding to Sandy in #143:

I am not clear on what Oprah's exact comments were on not being obligated to please Whites or anyone else for that matter. I have yet to find it on a reputable news site. I would also be interested in reading the full transcript that both preceded it or came after because then I could understand the context.

And according to O, there are 2 White female students in the school's incoming class. I saw one for myself on television. There are a few Asians and other "Coloreds" (a South African race category), with the majority of students being Black.

Thirdly, as far as South African society is concerned, racial injustice though in the past is still relevant. You should try to research it yourself to understand. Also, South Africa is still a majority Black country where predominantly Blacks occupy the underclass. To get into Oprah's school, a student must be poor. So what would you expect the racial distribution of her school to be? The bulk of White and "Colored" South Africans are not poor. Since Blacks and to a lesser extent "Coloreds" were stripped of everything and relocated to segregated, remote shanty towns during under the system of Apartheid (only ended about 18 years ago), many Blacks will remain poor for a long time because of the years of brutal injustice.

Thanks.

2786 days ago
129.

Nik    

There seem to be many unanswered questions-from relevant to the superfluous-nas well as many assumptions on the part of many on this site.

To enlighten myself, I read recent articles from this week. I share them with you below.

Oprah opens school for girls in S. Africa
Lavish leadership academy aims to give impoverished chance to succeed
The Associated Press
Updated: 11:38 a.m. PT Jan 2, 2007
JOHANNESBURG, South Africa - Oprah Winfrey opened a school Tuesday for disadvantaged girls, fulfilling a promise she made to former President Nelson Mandela six years ago and giving more than 150 students a chance for a better future.
“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.
Mandela, 88, attended the opening ceremony of the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls in the small town of Henley-on-Klip, south of Johannesburg. He looked frail as he was helped on to the stage by his wife, Graca Machel, and Winfrey. But he beamed with joy and his speech resonated with pride.
“It is my hope that this school will become the dream of every South African girl and they will study hard and qualify for the school one day,” he said in a firm voice.
Mandela thanked Winfrey for the “personal time and effort” she devoted to the school.
“This is not a distant donation but a project that clearly lies close to your heart,” said the anti-apartheid leader who became multiracial South Africa’s first democratically elected president in 1994.
Singers Tina Turner, Mary J. Blige and Mariah Carey, actors Sidney Poitier and Chris Tucker and director Spike Lee also were in attendance. Each guest was asked to bring a personally inscribed book for the library.
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.
‘Change the face of a nation’
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.
Many of the girls come from families affected by the disease, which has infected 5.4 million of the 48 million population and hit women disproportionately hard.
Winfrey referred repeatedly to her own impoverished childhood and said she was grateful that she at least had a good education, declaring this to be “the most vital aspect of my life.”
“I was a poor girl who grew up with my grandmother, like so many of these girls, with no water and electricity,” said the talk show host, dressed in a formal pink dress that reached the floor.
She vowed to make the academy the “best school in the world” and promised that she would continue to support the girls so they could attend any university in the world.
The idea for the school was born in 2000 at a meeting between Winfrey and Mandela. She said she decided to build the academy in South Africa rather than the United States out of love and respect for Mandela and because of her own African roots.
She said she planned a second school for boys and girls in the eastern province of KwaZulu-Natal.
Many state-funded schools, especially in the sprawling townships that sprang up under white racist rule, are hopelessly overcrowded and lack even basic necessities such as books. They also are plagued by gang violence, drugs and a high rate of pregnancy among school girls.
Top-class study and sporting facilities are available, but are largely confined to private schools that are still dominated by the white minority as they are too expensive for many black and mixed race South Africans.
3,500 applications for admission
Winfrey’s academy received 3,500 applications from across the country. A total of 152 girls ages 11 and 12 were accepted.
To qualify, they had to show both academic and leadership potential and have a household income of no more than $787 a month. Eventually the academy will accommodate 450 girls.
The 28-building campus boasts computer and science laboratories, a library and theater along with a wellness center.
Winfrey rejected suggestions that her school was elitist and unnecessarily luxurious.
“If you are surrounded by beautiful things and wonderful teachers who inspire you, that beauty brings out the beauty in you,” she said.
Lesego Tlhabanyane, 13, proudly wore her new green and white uniform at the ceremony to raise the South African flag.
“I would have had a completely different life is this hadn’t happened to me. Now I get a life wh

2786 days ago
130.

Darlene    

Oprah is the ultimate hypocrit. She says all American inner city kids want are ipods and sneakers. I wonder where they get such shallow values.....perhaps from people like Oprah herself!!!! On Oprah's Favorite Things, she screams over guests being given superficial objects as if they were being given a kidney on thier death beds. She has contributed greatly to the materialistic mentality of Americans. Additionally, billionaires like her, Bill Gates (MIcrosoft), and Steve Jobs (yes, the IPOD man, and the master behind Disney's Pixar Animation) are pouring millions into African children, while at the same time, pushing thier technology products on our inner city kids like drugs, then accusing these same kids of being too materialistic. IT'S DISGUSTING. Oprah needs to realize that television (her ticket to wealth) has marketed these poor kids to death with their IPODS and Air Jordan sneakers. They've created these values, and have gotten filthy rich in the process. I think what people like Oprah really like is the fact that these poor African children bow to her like royalty, and inner city kids see her as an Ambassador of "Things".

2786 days ago
131.

Billi Jo    

I think people need to get off Oprah's back! She is so right about the kids in our country. There is absolutely NO comparison, and anyone who thinks so needs to actually GO there and see...MAJOR culture shock, trust me! As far as the kids here...she is completely on the mark. All kids in our country think about is the coolest play thing out there or the newest "celebrity endorsed/named" product like sneakers. Rich or poor, the people in our country are spoiled beyond belief compared to other places! And, as another person wrote, we talk about our country, but Africa is an entire CONTINENT of poverty. Why shouldn't someone do something more than just send money to these people? They are people too.

2786 days ago
132.

Billi Jo    

I need to respond to Darlene. You are right in a sense. However, it is not the TV or the celebrities that teach our children values and morals. It is US, the parents. We can blame anyone we want, but when it comes to teaching our children to be humble and to respect and be thankful for what they/we have, WE are at fault if they don't have those values. Oprah "screams" about being able to give these things because she can and does, but she spends a GREAT deal of money and time helping the underpriveleged, and she may have a lot of money, but she respects and remembers where she came from. She is more humble than we think. It is easy for us to "diss" these people who have a lot of money that try to do things for others...just remember where YOU come from and that we have SO many more opportunity in this country, no matter how much money we do or don't have. It's not even close to the same thing. The homeless people in our country are better off than entire villages or countries in Africa and other third world countries. I respect your opinion, and can see where you are coming from, but having seen the devestating reality in third world countries, I obviously have a different opinion.

2786 days ago
133.

homegirl101    

HEIDI...GET OVER YOURSELF...AND YOUR COMMENT TO BRING RACISM..TO THIS FORUM.....IT DOESN'T MATTER WHAT SHE SAID, SHE DOESN'T HAVE TO ANSWER TO ANY RACE, IT'S OBVIOUS THAT HER RACE DOESN'T HAVE AN ISSUE, SO HER COMMENT IS DIRECTED TO OTHER'S LIKE YOU THAT HAVE AN ISSUE WITH HER BECAUSE SHE IS BLACK , YOU'RE AN OBVIOUS SELF AABSORBED WOMAN...GUESSING YOU ARE ALSO WHITE...
I DON'T HAVE HAVE TO EXPLAIN TO WHITES... I AM WHITE, SO WHAT NOW..AND QUIT YELLING....

2786 days ago
134.

homegirl101    

Cast out..of what...white people build schools everyday...it's not news ...education is an entitlement in this country, in case you haven't noticed. Because O builds a school with her own money..and makes the news some of you...HEIDI..have an issue with it. If Bush built that school would you care..would you be commenting??? Do you care that the U.S. writes checks for millions ..to fight global Aids...Poverty... give wheat.to the poor?
Do you want to comment that a white man is always giving to Africa....or eh....no comments?
DATA.org
ONE.org
educate yourselves it's not really ...new news....
It's her money and choice, regardless of your feelings for her personally.

2786 days ago
135.

homegirl101    

Cast out..of what...white people build schools everyday...it's not news ...education is an entitlement in this country, in case you haven't noticed. Because O builds a school with her own money..and makes the news some of you...HEIDI..have an issue with it. If Bush built that school would you care..would you be commenting??? Do you care that the U.S. writes checks for millions ..to fight global Aids...Poverty... give wheat.to the poor?
Do you want to comment that a white man is always giving to Africa....or eh....no comments?
DATA.org
ONE.org
educate yourselves it's not really ...new news....
It's her money and choice, regardless of your feelings for her personally.

2786 days ago
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