Oprah Winfrey – Mpumi Nobiva was raised by her grandmother in a neighborhood beset by poverty and crime after her mother died of AIDS, now she is one of the first to graduate from Oprah Winfrey’s school, and is headed to college in North Carolina.
Winfrey spent $40 million to give her girls a campus with computer and science labs, a library and a wellness center. None paid tuition. The students are high-achievers, often from communities where schools are struggling to overcome the legacy of apartheid.
And as the South African school year nears its end, all 72 members of the school’s first graduating class have been accepted to universities in South Africa or the United States. More than a dozen have received full scholarships.
Winfrey told her students that when you teach a girl, you teach a nation.
“The first class, my class, will prove that,” said Nobiva, 18, who will study visual and performing arts at Johnson C. Smith University in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Winfrey will be at the school for graduation ceremonies in January, school officials said Wednesday as students gathered to reflect on their experiences over the last five years.
Winfrey, who has visited her school often, has instilled a sense of purpose. On Wednesday, Nobiva’s classmatesaspiring doctors, accountants, engineers and lawyers — spoke of their plans to serve their communities.
“You can imagine the impact of girls with that insight going out into the universe,” Nobiva said.