Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Oprah opens Academy in South Africa

Talk show host Oprah Winfrey on Tuesday opened a $40 million school for disadvantaged South African girls which she has paid for out of her own pocket.

The sleekly designed campus, sprawling 52 acres in a sleepy community south of Johannesburg, encompasses classrooms and laboratories equipped with flat screen computers, a yoga studio, beauty salon and well-stocked library.

"When you educate a girl you begin to change the face of a nation," said Winfrey. "The school is going to change the trajectory of their lives."

She said the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls was inspired by her own humble beginnings, struggling to survive with no electricity or running water, and as a former victim of physical and sexual abuse.

Former South African president Nelson Mandela, on hand for the opening celebration, praised Winfrey. [Source:Reuters]

GO Oprah! Celebs Mary J. Blige, L.A. Reid, Babyface, Tina Turner, India Arie and Turner were among the many present.

[Looks like Chris Rock and his wife are still together.]

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