Monday, January 08, 2007
Preview: Oprah's promise to Africa
Posted By Jason Rovou, CNN Producer: 12:06 PM ET
  15 Comments
Maybe Oprah should have promised something more to America first. She is an elitist snob, giving to the poor shouldn't alleviate her soul of the guilt of having so much.
Posted By Anonymous Brant, Madison, Wisconsin : 12:30 PM ET
Oprah is perfectly entitled to spend her money on anything she wants, without comment from others. I think it's tremendous that she wanted to provide this school for young girls in South Africa, and she clearly feels a calling that this is what she was meant to do. It also seems to have brought her alot of joy. Money spent on providing for the needs of children is always well spent, especially for education. These girls now look forward to a far different future than before.
Posted By Anonymous Vicky, Ottawa, ON : 12:57 PM ET
I'm with Brant; some of the things Oprah does seem to be her way of buying respect. And the gestures she makes keep getting grander and grander. I guess what strikes me with this school is that she says she's 'for the people' and not an elitist, yet this academy is very exclusive, as if she's telling the girls, 'you are now the elite'. But I guess what Oprah declares is the way it's gonna be. Like alot of gazillionaire Hollywood types, she's not used to people telling her 'no' and let's face it, few people dare to criticize Oprah.
Posted By Anonymous xtina - Chicago IL : 1:09 PM ET
Sorry Vicki, but Oprah is not immune to freedom of speech. She had the right to spend her money quitely in a discrete manner to do good. But she agreed to spend money publicly, showing off her school to the world to heep praise on herself. How much money do you think she spent on advertising this 'dream', so that we all could bask in her glory.
I think that we should ask ourselves not the monetary cost of this project, but the actual sacrifices that Oprah had to make for this project. The answer to that question is: likely nothing.
If she wants to get my approval, she needs to give up the numerous mansions she has, the billions of dollars in assets, etc. To quote someone we should all be familiar with, "From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked." We should all ask more of Oprah, she has given that which is no sacrifice on her part, she will not miss this money, much like she wouldn't miss one of her estates if she gave that up also.
Posted By Anonymous Brant, Madison, Wisconsin : 1:21 PM ET
What Oprah has done for these girls is so great. Oprah is GREAT! How amazingly wonderful that these underpriviledged girls will have opportunities and education that will change their lives and those around them. I am deeply touched by Oprah's generosity to make a change in Africa. Awesome!
Posted By Anonymous Betty Ann, Nacogdoches TX : 1:39 PM ET
At least, with her millions, she's giving back and trying to help young girls who she believes can make a difference by being educated. That's a start at least. And she may spend or invest her money the way she wants it, period. People who judge or criticize whould ask themselves: Have I done anything this year to help someone in need? Am I fortunate enough to give back a bit to the community. Small gestures go a long way, a dollar can make a big difference in a person's life. Think about it, actions speak speak louder than words!
Posted By Anonymous Josee (Montreal, Quebec) : 1:41 PM ET
So, do we think Anderson's connection to Oprah puts a biased slant on this story? We know he thinks she "rocks". We'll have to wait and see. I know I'll watch to find out.

I am a little tired of the "celebrity hour long events" though.
Posted By Anonymous Cathi - Chicago, IL : 2:05 PM ET
It'd be really hard to criticize someone who built a school for girls in a region in which educated women can and do change the world. It's a part of the world where education is valued...where getting an education is more sought after than the latest fashion, fad, or trend.

And yet, we manage it.

Basically, if we don't like it...we can donate our money to what we do like and let her donate hers where she likes. Who am I to tell someone, "You can't help those people until you help these people" or "You can't do that good work for them until and unless you do this other good work for these others".

Ya did good, Oprah. Is it good enough? I think that's the sort of thing I'm not qualified to judge. Who is? Since when do we criticize someone for doing good?
Posted By Anonymous Adrian, Calgary, Canada : 3:01 PM ET
The amount of negativity surrounding Oprah's good deeds over the years never cease to amaze me. Why can't we all just accept where she puts her money and get on with it--um, it's her money. So what if she's a 'gazillionaire'--she earned it.
Why is it so hard for some people to just say "that's great!" when a person donates $40 million towards educating children in third world countries?

I'm looking forward to an interesting show tonight--thx, 360.
Posted By Anonymous Sheri S. Toronto, Canada : 3:04 PM ET
I think it is wonderful that Oprah decided to build a school in South Africa. Those children are so deserving of a school to help them help themselves and help their country. It is a blessing for those young girls.

There has been much racket about Oprah building a school in the United States for American children. As an inner city school teacher, I sympathize with Oprah's comments about the children's insatiable need for material items like I-Pods and Sneakers, but not all children feel this way. Some children are just lost and really don't know what is really important to them; other children are working as hard as they can to better themselves. For example, a couple of years back, I taught an eighth grader whose father was a drug dealer and was shot over a drug deal, whose mother was left homeless and she, her mother and sister, were living in an 1985 Buick. That girl, despite all of her pain and hardships was 2nd in my math class. The boy who was first, father is a truck driver and is always on the road and his aunt takes care of him during the year. Anyway, when I congratulated this young girl on her achievements, astonished at the situation she was living in. She told me, in a matter of fact way, that she did not want to live like this for the rest of her life and that she was going to go to college. That young lady went to college!
If Oprah ever decides to build a school in the United States it would have to be different, tough, and totally committed to changing lives. It would work here. Students would be grateful for the opportunity to go to Oprah's school. Only time will tell if she does decide to build a school here. I hope she will.

Africa is a richer continent now for the Oprah school. I hope that other celebrities or rich people will donate some of their fortunes to help those who really need it and would be profoundly grateful for it.

Sincerly,
Madeliene Bolden
Posted By Anonymous Madeliene Bolden, Atlanta, Georgia : 3:35 PM ET
This controversy is amazing. Even more astounding is the use of biblical references to criticize someone for helping out their fellow man. The reason that she is able to help so many, is because she has been a good steward of her assets. Isn't that biblical as well? I suppose that even Christ himself was criticized, wasn't there something about tax collectors and sinners? I'm no big fan of Oprah's show, I simply don't have the time. That said, what she is doing is just wonderful. Well Done Oprah!
Posted By Anonymous Heather, Mannheim, Germany : 3:51 PM ET
Ok, lets put this arguement of the 'goodness' of what Oprah did to rest. If you take the median family income from 2004 in the US -43200 dollars- and assume the family has four members. The disposable income for that family would be about 19700 dollars. A comparable charitable gift from this family for 2006 would be about 525 dollars, about 2.666% of their income. Oprah's net worth, according to Forbes is about 1.5 billion, a gift of 40 million is only about 2.6666 percent of her worth...not too much. She may be doing good in South Africa, but who cares, I for one think she could do far, far, far better. Hopefully she will, and hopefully that will be done in this country. These are all estimates and we could quibble about the exact numbers, hopefully and economist or financial planner knows the exact numbers, but it is for sure that Oprah hasn't been forced to mortgage a home to finance this school.
Posted By Anonymous Brant, Madison, Wisconsin : 3:59 PM ET
Oprah toured the powerty stricken Ameircan Native reservations a few months back. She was appalled at the conditions these people live in. Some had not even running water or electricity. Yet she gives $40 million to South Africa. What's up with that?
Posted By Anonymous James Stanton, Las Vegas, NV : 4:23 PM ET
Enough is enough with Oprah.

My Nielson TV will NOT be tuned into CNN tonight.
Posted By Anonymous Joe, New Jersey : 4:32 PM ET
Living in Africa, i must admit i read of Ms Winfrey's opening of the school in South Africa with raised eyebrows. Why South Africa as opposed to Namibia or Botswana or Kenya or Zimbabwe? Don't get me wrong - i think it's a wonderful thing for the girls who will hopefully benefit form the Acadamy but i do think it should be kept in context, i mean I was puzzled by a headline that it was her promise to Africa. How so? Ms Winfrey strikes me as an intelligent woman, surely the headline was meaning her promise to South Africa ... i don't see how her opening a leadership school in South Africa for South Africans benefits the whole of Africa ...

On a another matter, i viewed the video clip of Mr Anderson in Niger and am sure i heard him saying that people asked him what Africa was like and he was saying it's like this and like that and the video showed some pics. Just wanted to say, that Africa is not just Niger (i know of course Mr Anderson knows this) and each country has many faces - it's just dangerous to make sweeping generalisations about Africa and saying "Africa is like this or that". It's like making a sweeping statement obout Americans based on what you've seen in a State (or something like that).
Posted By Anonymous Mary, Harare, Zimbabwe : 3:57 PM ET
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