Friday, August 25, 2006
Why Oprah never had kids
SOWETO, South Africa -- "Hi Jeff," she said. "Glad you could make it. By the way, I watch you all the time."

These were the first words Oprah uttered to me as I held out my hand to greet her stepping off her van accompanied by her ever-efficient staff.

I was floored. Oprah knows who I am? I asked myself. And I had this whole introduction thing planned out. What a woman, disarming as ever, and ever the woman in charge. I liked her from the start, even more than I did watching her all these years on television.

We were in Soweto, a sprawling slum in Johannesburg, which actually stands for South West Township. Oprah seemed as comfortable here as she would be in a five star hotel. She walked right into the home of a couple of prospective students who had applied for entry into her exclusive Leadership Academy and had impressed her to the point she wanted to see where they lived and what their life was like.

As you can imagine, the two girls, cousins actually, were instant celebrities. "Oprah's come to our house," they kept saying. "Our friends will never believe us."

Their friends didn't need much convincing. Word in the townships spreads fast and even before Oprah had taken a tour of the two-room seven-person shack. Outside was like a market place with women ululating the famous freedom line of the 1980s, but with a new twist.

"Viva, Oprah Winfrey, Viva," one woman yelled followed by the chorus line "Viva" from the rest of the growing crowd.

"You've spent $40 million on the school so far," I began.

"$40 million and counting," she interrupted. "I think I'll stop at $50 million. You can build a good school for $50 million," she added.

Fifty-million dollars anywhere in the world is a lot of money. In South Africa, it's an almost unheard of amount, especially if it's being spent by one person for the benefit of others.

"The money means nothing to me," Oprah continued. "When I look at these girls, I see me. That's why I want to give them everything I didn't have growing up. These are the leaders of tomorrow's Africa."

The Leadership Academy, set on more than 50 acres of land just outside Johannesburg, is a site to behold. From the classrooms to the dormitories to the dining room to the library (complete with fireplace) to a 600-seat auditorium, where Oprah will be 'checking' up on her girls by video-conferencing, everything has been made to the highest standards.

"I want this school to be a reflection of me," she says. "I made a promise to Madiba and I intend to keep it." Madiba is the clan name given to former South African President Nelson Mandela. Back in 2002, Oprah asked Mandela what he wanted from her as a gift to the nation. He simply said, "Build me a school." And she did. School begins January 2, 2007.

It's Sunday afternoon and Oprah leaves for Chicago in a few hours. She's invited all 150 girls that have "made the grade" and will be attending her academy. The only thing is she hasn't told them this. She's invited them to an informal get-together. None of the girls suspect Oprah's up to her "old tricks." She springs the surprise.

"I called you all here today to let you know that you all be part of the first class of the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy," she said.

PANDEMONIUM.

The girls scream and shout for joy for a good 15 minutes. Their parents too are screaming and shouting. Everyone's crying, Oprah's crying, I'm crying. It's an unbelievable scene. Then Oprah opens up in a way that surprised even her best friend, Gayle King, who was present and is part of the academy.

"Some people ask me why I never had children," Oprah says, adding, "Maybe this is the reason. So I can help bring up other peoples' children, your children. I want you to trust me to bring up your children and I promise I'll never let you down."

This time there's not a dry eye in the room. I'm bawling by now and wiping away tears on my sleeve. "You're such a cry baby," Graham, my cameraman, says. "I can't help it," is all I can offer.

"What you did back there was simply amazing," I tell Oprah afterwards. "You'd have done the same thing, Jeff. Remember, I've seen your stories on CNN."

I'm fighting back tears again. "Hey, give me a hug," she says. "Today is a good day, and I feel my life has come full circle."
Posted By Jeff Koinange, CNN Africa Correspondent: 9:46 PM ET
  68 Comments
Hi Jeff,
Oprah has her heart and soul in the right place..And I think people like her and you deserve a big Thank You..The world is a tough place, but I believe there is plenty of goodness there if we just look..Take Care
Posted By Anonymous Lorie Ann, Buellton,Calif. : 10:09 PM ET
Pretty pathetic that so far only CNN has this story of Oprah's generosity. Apparently it's not "scandoulus" enough to write about but the amount of weight she's lost/gained etc. is. I can't completely knock the media when most of society would rather hear about who is dating, breaking up, having a baby, cheating with whom etc. then to hear about the good deeds that celebrities do.
Posted By Anonymous M. Wong, Van Nuys, CA : 10:17 PM ET
An absolutly beautiful article. Thank you for sharing the details so openly.
Posted By Anonymous Renee McCrady; Seymour, Indiana : 10:20 PM ET
Jeff,
I don't think your a big baby at all. If so I am too. I cryed when I saw the clips on tv and then again when I read your blog. Cudos to Oprah for setting such a wonderful and inspiration example to all.
Posted By Anonymous mls, N.O. LA : 10:26 PM ET
I'm jealous...I want to go to that school too! Unfortunately....been there done that already! It's refreshing to see Oprah's drive, her dedication, and her vision of teaching today's young girls to be tomorrow's future leaders.
Posted By Anonymous Jolene, St. Joseph, MI : 10:46 PM ET
Pongezi Jeff.I have never seen real Kikiyu Man cry so it might have been so touching.
Posted By Anonymous Tim,Melros,ma : 10:50 PM ET
Wow! That's great! I don't think I've heard anything about this Academy in South Africa but you can bet it will be on my list of "dream vacations." It sounds absolutely beautiful and I'm certain the girls will thrive in that environment. $50 million IS a lot of money! Thank you Oprah!
Posted By Anonymous Walknla, West Hollywood, CA : 11:05 PM ET
Great admiration for a GREAT LADY. Wish there more of such big hearted lady like Oprah. May she be happy all the time. Viva Oprah.
Posted By Anonymous Lynette KOH, Singapore : 11:07 PM ET
You gotta give it to Oprah, she is always willing to help others. Sometimes you just don't want to like her, you want to find some flaw, but she has a magnetic personality that always draws you back in. Besides, you simply cannot dislike anyone who watches CNN, you are all amazing. Thank you Jeff for all of your coverage of the problems that plague Africa.
Oh, and I certainly don't think you are a crybaby. =)
Posted By Anonymous Kimberly Miller, Lancaster, PA : 11:10 PM ET
This is a amazing story! It is wonderful to hear news like this for a change. That there are people that can make such a positive impact on ones life as Oprah Winfrey. Oprah is such a truly amazing women with a heart of gold !
Posted By Anonymous beth Milbridge, Maine : 11:15 PM ET
When I had seen the report on the 50-acre school Ms. Winfrey had built and her pledge towards the building of this academy that had quardupled the amount she had promised Mandiba, I had absolutely welled up with such a warm feeling of gratitude for such a kind and caring person to touch the lives of so many and make such a difference in the lives of so many bright young lives. Oprah definitely has a maternal spirit that is truly inspring and overcomes the senses with profound enormity. Jeff Koinage is correct that Oprah needn't have any children, not when she has the capabilities of touching the lives of so many, and no one is more deserving of their wondrous elated devotion and love. Thank goodness for the good samaritan... they are the true founders of hope.
Posted By Anonymous Jane Doe, Ocala FL : 11:18 PM ET
You just cry all you want to, I did! How can you not get all goosey bumpey when you see something like that happen? Oprah is an incredible human being and I hope she never has children;)
Posted By Anonymous Lily, Vancouver, BC : 12:35 AM ET
Great story about a great woman!!
Once again Oprah has kept her word and given of her wealth and herself to better the world. I have never heard her make a pledge or a promise she didn't follow through on and this time she realized her own dreams as well. Good for her especially in these times of war and terrorism, it's so nice to hear a bright happy story. Thank you Jeff.
Posted By Anonymous Bev. Ontario, Canada : 12:37 AM ET
Thank you for writing your blog with such honesty. It's great that Oprah is building the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy in South Africa. She's right in saying maybe she never had children so that she can bring up other peoples' children. She's truly a blessing to all these children.
Posted By Anonymous Mercy, Memphis, TN : 12:39 AM ET
Hi, I think what Oprah has done is just what God has deemed for her to do, with her money.God allows you to have it, and then you are suppose to help others, who cannot help themselves. That is why God put us on this Earth in the first place, To help others. God Bless you all for what you do. I sure wish I could do it right along with you. But I son't have the recourses to do such a thing , so you do what you can , Thank you and Goda Blessings to you. Caroline Highley.
Posted By Anonymous Caroline Highley Lancaster, Ohio : 12:41 AM ET
It's wonderful that Jeff is able to show the human side of journalism. Far too many of our colleagues choose to be distant. This is clearly an instance where our compassion isn't lost because of objectivity.

Roland S. Martin
Executive Editor/General Manager
Chicago Defender
Posted By Anonymous Roland S. Martin, Chicago, IL : 12:57 AM ET
I personally think that Oprah is a wonderful person who gives with alot of heart. Now that she has alot of cash she is giving back what she did not have growing up,and bless her soul she gives hope to children that need it the most.She is a mother to many
Posted By Anonymous toni langley bc : 1:00 AM ET
Oprah is awesome.
Always was and always will be...
an inspiration.
Yay for for Oprah.
- Jillian Pham
Posted By Anonymous Jillian Pham, Irvine, CA : 1:02 AM ET
Personally I tink Opera is a blessing to many who trully do need.Its all about empowering ones self though education.It is nice that she also takes the time to share in the moment with them all.This is affermation of what is important to her.You see many who have the funds but choose to do nothing to help out those less fortunate.We need more Oprs in this world for sure.Gods blessings be upon this building that will change and empower many more woman.Much to thank and praise God for, as well as Opras willingness to help others.
Posted By Anonymous Teri, Newmarket Ontario Canada : 1:25 AM ET
Once again another moving and brilliant report by Jeff Koinange. Thank you so much for being present in Africa and reporting on the uplifting stories as well as the terrible tragedies. You are the soul of Africa and you bring it alive for me. This world needs more dedicated correspondents such as yourself. What a touching story about Oprah's school. She has given these girls the one thing in life that we ALL need to succeed...........HOPE...........
Posted By Anonymous Camille Wyatt, Calais, Maine : 1:33 AM ET
Hello Jeff-
In a world of doom and gloom news stories, this story is so refreshing and positive. How wonderful this will be for those girls!!! I can not imagine what an advantage this will give them. I particularly liked the fact (from 360) that Oprah wanted a theater in the school so that the children could learn to be good orators. A needed skill to be a leader. Thanks to you and Anderson for including this story in the 360 segment. It made my day!!!!
Posted By Anonymous Betty Ann Taylor Nacogdoches, Tx : 1:54 AM ET
Wow! Oprah is inspiring! What an accomplishment!!!
Posted By Anonymous nn, Phoenix, AZ : 1:59 AM ET
This story of Oprah and the school is amazing in and of itself.

"Reporter" Jeff interjecting himself into the story by reporting on his private personal emotion did nothing to enhance the story and took away space from the "real" story.

Jeff is confusing his viewerships' level of interest in him, of which I for one, have absolutely none.

I don't want to be coaxed or manipulated by a reporters innapropriate emotional interjection into a story. Give your viewers more credit!

We can assertain our own meaning and sentiments from a quality, "straight" report. But maybe you're not capable of writing a quality, straight report. That takes a special kind of dicipline.

Move towards an ideal of objectivity and loose the starstruck m.o. and earn your viewers' respect the hard way, without having to trumpet "high compliments" from Oprah Winfrey as part of your reportage.

Go ahead and call your mom after you file your report if you must, but don't clog the airwaves, which belong to us, with your self-important, sentimental tripe.

I don't care what you think. Period. Interjecting yourself into the story removed some dignity from the real story -- Oprah, the school, and the kids.


"Reporter" Jeff, when editing your next report from the world stage, humble yourself. We are not at all as delighted with you as you are with yourself. Remember, we own the airwaves.

It is an honor to be on-air so give is our due respect. Please remove your personal assessments and emotional reactions. This is not a reality show. It's American journalism.

I fear for the future of broadcast journalism with quasi-reporters like you.
Posted By Anonymous M. E. Campbell, Portland, Oregon : 2:05 AM ET
Wonderful!!!What you have done in Soweto with the Leadership school very Noble, Oprah!!!!,,Wish some like you came to India too,,
Posted By Anonymous Shashank, Baorda, India : 2:38 AM ET
i am so happy to have a leader like Oprah. we need more positive souls making a difference to many lives. truly a blessing.
Posted By Anonymous h. drew, dallas, texas : 3:07 AM ET
Oprah is one of the most beautiful human beings on this planet. Thank you, God, for creating her.
Ivy
Posted By Anonymous Ivy, Pondicherry, India : 3:41 AM ET
WOW! Inspiring, heartwarming, and a life changing event for 150 girls of 2007, THANK YOU Oprah, for your endless generosity to help those in need. Your gift will have a ripple effect and positivly and significantly impact so many lives.
Please keep us updated on the progress of the girls- maybe profile their stories, hopefully the awareness will inspire others to help with educating those that don't have schools, books, and all the other wonderful things Oprah has provided.
Posted By Anonymous Jackie Smalley SLC UT : 3:42 AM ET
What is the definition of pure joy? - This scene described by Jeff Koinange, and it can only be experienced by those with an open heart and strong empathy. In this instance the answer is an absolute YES to the question "Can Money Buy Happiness?"
Posted By Anonymous Diane Mehok, Phoenix, AZ : 3:52 AM ET
What a wonderful experience that must have been to see an angel at work. Oprah Winfrey certainly has been a generous individual throughout her life and given to others on a regular basis. It was especially pleasant to hear about the good someone is doing.
Posted By Anonymous Melody Chapin Harbor Springs : 5:19 AM ET
This is such an emotional and strong non-fiction article of Oprah giving back to the community: an gate way to the world.
Posted By Anonymous Mark James, Hollywood, Florida : 5:50 AM ET
Jeff,
I have never responded to a story online or anywhere for that matter.
Your story touched the heart of a 47 year old "new" teacher... teaching for the first time ever. I feel your tears.. and that is exactly why Oprah never physically bore children. God needed her undivided attention so she could focus on the lives of those needing an extra hand and heart.
Remember the line in Finding Forrester w/ Sean Connery
"Writers write so readers can read." You must keep writing.

Kansas City born but searching for the world of possibilities.

teaching with curiosity
Bonita Mickens
Posted By Anonymous Bonita Mickens Kansas City, Missouri : 6:56 AM ET
What can you say about a woman who means so much to so many. One who demonstrates what true Love is, for it is not about what you have, but truly what you can do for someone in need.Oprah has taught me more than she will ever know. Oprah changed my life for the better and I thank God for her and the work that she does. One woman who has taken the challenges of the world and made them her own. Many call her Oprah. I call her an Angel sent from Heaven. My wish is to tell her thank you, for if it were not for her inspiration I would not be here today. May God always and forever Bless her.
Posted By Anonymous B-CC Wildcat, Dallas TX : 7:05 AM ET
Jeff:
Your story made me cry too. It is amazing to see and read stories about people like Oprah who give so much of them for the benefits of others. Unfortunately our society has become so selfish, that we forget to see the beauty of giving and helping others. I wish more of us could give to others the way that Oprah did. (And I am not just talking about money, but about kindness and love.) God bless people like Oprah, and thank you for such a beautiful story.
Posted By Anonymous Jerry L. P. Deese, Wuerzburg, Germany : 7:14 AM ET
It is good in this day and age of get rich quick schemes and greed to see someone who has made it give it back to the community. Oprah for President!
Posted By Anonymous Kyle, odenton MD : 7:20 AM ET
Oprah has the true generosity of the heart, the kind that would make this world a much better place if EVERYONE did it at some level... Obviously, most of us can't afford to give away that much money for such a project, however, reaching out to those around us and making their lives a little brighter can help make the world a better place, one person at a time. Shame on all the movie stars we admire so much, are so rich and give so little...
Posted By Anonymous Louise Wolfshagen, Montreal, Canada : 7:28 AM ET
I watched the Exclusive coverage of the Academy last night on AC360. I cried then and I'm crying while reading Jeff's blog.

There are 2 kinds of people, those that forget where they came from, and those that never forget and embracing it.

Oprah like the Gates are simply amazing. Giving back! As a contributing member of this society, they should inspire all of us to share and give back to the less fortunate. Always be grateful for the things that we have and always think of those that don't.

Amazing. I can't think of any other word to describe Oprah. She makes me want to be a better woman everyday.
Posted By Anonymous Mina, Ashburn VA : 7:43 AM ET
Oprah is doing a good thing to help people. She is truly an example for all people of wealth and power should follow. I hope she runs for president of the U.S. one day! I'd certainly vote her!
Posted By Anonymous Deborah, Union City, CA : 8:01 AM ET
I am crying too. I have no children too, as I have been helping other women's children whose Kenyan fathers abandoned. But I am not rich, and help the little that I can -- right now with my immediate aunts' children, and hopefully later, with others (when I am done with my cousins who need me now). I am so proud of Oprah. She is such an inspiration.
Posted By Anonymous Mercy, Copenhagen, Denmark : 8:07 AM ET
What a moving story! If only this world were full of more people like Oprah...That is a woman that exudes nothing but goodness and signifies what it means to be truly selfless. What an inspirational, amazing human being!
Posted By Anonymous Nathan, Junction City, Kansas : 8:26 AM ET
Thank you for bringing us right into the new school and enabling us to feel the emotions and magic of moment also. "This is the stuff that dreams are made of."
Posted By Anonymous Angela, Cambridge, MA : 8:44 AM ET
Hi Jeff, I watched the piece, on Oprah's school, on Anderson Cooper 360 last night and I was crying too and it's ok to cry. Now these little girls will have the opportunity to live their dream and "follow their bliss". (my Anderquote of the day)
Posted By Anonymous Judy Stage Brooklyn Michigan : 9:20 AM ET
Jeff,

Thank you for sharing a story of hope, love, mutual respect and generosity. We need to read about the good things happening in the world to sustain our faith in each other. Keep up the good work.
Posted By Anonymous Madeline, Baltimore, Maryland : 9:37 AM ET
Oprah is a special angel to a lot of children now and rightfully so. in the U S school systems are being over crowded, education is lacking and there's tremendous waste. the cost of illegal aliens in our schools is growing at an all time rate and we have a government that ignores it. education in many ways is taken for granted and only the wealthy can afford to send their children to college. what Oprah has done makes her an icon and one thing she knows better than our government. how to win hearts and minds through education instead of war. maybe just one of those children will develop one idea that stops a war before it starts. thankyou oprah!
Posted By Anonymous MIKE ADKINS,CHARLOTTE,NC : 9:48 AM ET
Jeff, I too watch you on CNN and learn alot from your reports. Isn't she amazing! It's one thing to acquire all this wealth, but to use it in the ways Oprah does is an example for mankind. Stop trying to destroy eachother and the world, bring us together to make it a better place for all of us and future generations.
Posted By Anonymous Francine, Ft. Lauderdale, Fl. : 9:53 AM ET
It's nice to see a wealthy person putting their money to good use! Oprah is a treasure and a true humanitarian.

I first heard about this venture on Letterman and pray the academy is a grand success.
Posted By Anonymous Ruth Egan, Anderson, IN : 9:57 AM ET
Hey Jeff,
I know this story is meant to highlight the fine work Oprah is doing in South Africa, but I'd like to take this opportunity to thank you for your excellent reporting on issues rarely discussed in mainstream North American news media.
I'm not sure if my comments will be posted or not, but I do hope that even it doesn't, somehow, you'll know how much your poignant coverage of the plight of children in Uganda was life changing for me. I used to consider myself a real news junkie but I had never heard about the night wanderers. Not only have I done a 180 on where I get my world news from, but the story has inspired me to travel to Uganda for Christmas and see if I can provide my services there as a physician.
I'm looking forward to future repoting by you.
Posted By Anonymous Sue, Toronto,Ontario : 10:14 AM ET
I'm happy that there is someone out there who can bring this kind of joy and happiness to children in South Africa. All it takes is one person to start working on making a change and for others to follow. I wish that I had the ability to do what Oprah has done; but then maybe God has given me a different purpose in life. A different purpose that still allows me to help others. I am proud of Oprah and a pray that she will continually be able to help as she has done.
Posted By Anonymous Summer, Champaign, IL : 10:15 AM ET
Please spare me Oprah's holier-than-thou proclamations. Anyone who heard Oprah give the "mating hour" speech on her television show a few years ago knows full well why she never had children of her own.
Posted By Anonymous Will Shank, Toronto, Ontario : 10:17 AM ET
This is wonderful! Congratulations to Oprah and all of the new students!
Posted By Anonymous Paula, South Bend, IN : 10:19 AM ET
That is one of the most moving reports I have ever read. I am crying as I read it. Thank you for sharing that beautiful story. What a true hero Ms. Winfrey is.
Posted By Anonymous Kathleen Dillon, Los Angeles, CA : 10:19 AM ET
Of all the people I've known in my fifty-one years on this earth, not one person has made me shed so many tears of sheer joy as Oprah Winfrey. Her generosity is seemingly boundless, and her compassion runs so deep, she is nothing less than . . . amazing.

If I could start my life over, I would dare to follow in her footsteps (in those great shoes!) and create wealth enough to do the great humanitarian things that she does. For now, I will just be one of her "Angels."

The world is such a better place because of Oprah. God Bless her as she has blessed us.
Posted By Anonymous Laurie Hill, Wantagh, NY : 10:28 AM ET
Jeff,
That is an amazing story. I would have been emotional too. Oprah is my idol. She is such a hero in my eyes and in the eyes of so many people. Thank you for sharing this story!
Stephanie Wood
Posted By Anonymous Stephanie Wood, Charles Town, WV : 10:33 AM ET
What more is there to say? Oprah is an amazing woman. Thanks for the story, Jeff.
Posted By Anonymous Deb, Richmond VA : 11:24 AM ET
Dear Jeff: I too, admire your work. You show a rare combination of professional journalism without being afraid to interject raw, honest, human caring and emotion! May the Lord bless you and your team as you continue to bring wonderful coverage to the rest of the world. We have some similar journalists in Canada, but too few! As a pastor, I am often moved by journalists such as you...in a way we are doing the same job...bringing hope and honesty and truth to those around. Please be encouraged! Pastor Doug Torrance, Grace Pentecostal Tabernacle, Yorkton, Sask. Canada
Posted By Anonymous Doug Torrance, Yorkton, Saskatchewan Canada : 11:58 AM ET
Isn't it interesting that if you are a powerful black woman it is ok to be sexist. Maybe I'm wrong, but from what I read in the article all 150 students are girls? Shouldn't this school be called Oprah Winfrey Feminist Leadership Academy. Or maybe Oprah Winfrey Girls Leadership Academy. I suppose I'm just a single middle class white man so my opinion doesn't matter here.
Posted By Anonymous Justin, San Diego, CA : 9:42 AM ET
Justin..You don't understand why Oprah choose the academy to be female only. It is becasue women are second class citzens and also because women are the ones who pass down education to the children in most cases. "You educate a man..you educate only him but, you educate a woman you educate a village." God Bless Oprah for what she has done..
Posted By Anonymous Michael San Diego, CA : 1:58 AM ET
Justin, the hand that rocks the cradle rules the world. If women are educated, everyone is educated.
Posted By Anonymous Sarah Jane, Salt Lake City, UT : 2:29 AM ET
I find myself thinking the same as Justin fom San Diego....

It's a wonderful gesture, don't get me wrong, but I think it's interesting and deserves some examination to wonder why it's only for girls?

I guess it's okay to do something only for women, but do something only for men and it's discrimination.... whatever.
Posted By Anonymous Alex, Columbia, SC : 11:12 AM ET
I love hearing stories like this one! It makes me smile... and it gives me hope. Unfortuately there are only a handful of Oprahs in the world... she truly is an inspiration... She sets such a high example... Her un-selfish ways and huge heart make her the icon that she is.

Oprah should run for president. I'm serious. She'd have my vote that's for sure.

Thank you Oprah!
Posted By Anonymous Christine Weightman, Toms River, NJ : 12:30 PM ET
Its really beautiful to see someone that has so much help ALOT of people who have nothing. Go Oprah.
Posted By Anonymous Bill, Erie, PA : 1:51 PM ET
Jeff,
I saw this story as well, and loved it. I don't blame you a bit for tearing up... I would have, too!! In a time when all the news seems to be bad, thanks for bringing us a ray of hope. It's really nice to hear about someone like Oprah, who's using her money and influence to do something GOOD in the world, instead of just wasting it all on extravagant junk for herself.

Keep bringing us these kinds of good stories.
Posted By Anonymous Linnea, Bloomington, MN : 4:19 PM ET
That gal from Mississippi sure is making a better world for a lot of people. God bless her always
Posted By Anonymous Jim Carter, Woodlands, Tx : 6:13 PM ET
Justin and Alex bring up valid points - but their argument is based on the concept that boys and girls automatically have equal opportunities in all countries and cultures. As one poster mentioned above, women in some parts of Africa, including South Africa, are second class citizens - reduced to working bottom of the barrel jobs with no chance of advancing their education or becoming a professional (unless they have money or family or status to back them). Sometimes corrective measures are needed to pull an underclass up to an equal level with others. In a culture where rape, bias and degradation are the norm, one can't apply the American and/or Western principles of equality where equality doesn't exist in the first place. Once these women have reached a level where they can actually compete, then the concept of "co-ed" can be applied.
Posted By Anonymous DR, Brooklyn, NY : 1:42 PM ET
I really can't understand why ANYONE would find the need to criticize an incredible act of charity by Oprah Winfrey, or by anyone who offers their time, money or talents to help. If you are doing this you need to examine your motives for being critical and perhaps even you own charitible acts, or lack of. Love that Oprah!!!! She's a person of quality, and someone we can all be proud of.
Posted By Anonymous Denise Blakemore, Weirton : 10:53 AM ET
I really admire you all for this type of media coverage. We live in a world today where often only the more violent, more demeaning activities that occur are receiving publicity. It is great that you chose to be different and cover a more deserving story. By the way, Oprah is totally my role model and one day I claim that I will have grown to a level in my life where I will offer the same type of contribution. To all of your readers, will you, too, consider challenging yourselves to aspire to impact the world in such a way. We all can make a difference even with the smallest of deeds. It is not just up to Ms. Winfrey.
Posted By Anonymous Laquietta Cooper, Birmingham, AL : 3:42 PM ET
Jeff, thanks for your article and coverage of this great story! And for those who have posted negative comments regarding Oprah's decision to fund a girls-only school. She has also given to several male-only schools in a charitable fashion..i.e. Moorhouse College in Atl,GA.
Posted By Anonymous Sharon- Houston,Tx : 12:24 AM ET
I dont mean to be mean to Oprah she does well at her career and spends her money on good causes, but this isn't one and nobody in South Africa belives it either. This is because we live in a new South Africa where colour is not meant to be an issue. But I dont see any Indian,Chinese,Malay, Mixed race or White kids at this school why is that? Why hasn't she said it out loud that this is a blacks only school. That way we would understand the racisist slant of this school.
Posted By Anonymous Jacinta Nidoo, Durban, South Africa : 5:03 PM ET
I'm shocked at people being impressed with Oprah's new project.She just went too far(her birthday was other one),so in your face.I don't watch her show for long time now,and will not in the future.Who made her famous and rich on the first place?I guess she forgot American kids.
Posted By Anonymous Nenka,Toronto,Canada : 10:48 AM ET
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