The media queen, Oprah Winfrey has many reasons to be thankful. Among other things, the 61-year old media mogul was once ranked the richest African-American of the 20th century, is presently recognized as the only black billionaire in North America, and widely acknowledged as the greatest black philanthropist in American history.
The Thanksgiving celebration in the United States and Canada was originally mapped out as a day of giving thanks for the blessings and harvests of the previous year. The celebration comes up every second Monday of October in Canada, and on the fourth Thursday of every November in the United States. Today, Thanksgiving Day is more of a national holiday, albeit a thanksgiving one – celebrated in the aforementioned nations.
Oprah was obviously thankful for all she’s proud of, especially her students at the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls in South Africa. You’ll recall that the influential woman took on the responsibility of educating 152 South Africans after she promised Mandela that she’ll give students of his country a better future. According to her, she “wanted to give this opportunity to girls who had a light so bright that not even poverty could dim that light.”
To celebrate her fortunes, Oprah decided to thrill 20 of her handpicked students from the Leadership Academy for Girls in South Africa to a glamorous Thanksgiving dinner at the Rainbow Room, and to a Broadway performance of “The Color Purple” starring Jennifer Hudson, Danielle Brooks and Cynthia Erivo in New York City.
People exclusively related that Oprah commented that the time of the year gives “some energy and thought to what it means to be in the world and being able to have access to opportunity, which is what has happened with my girls…when [Cynthia] sings that song ‘I’m Here,’ she’s singing that to my girls. Everyone was crying because every one of them has been through their own set of challenges coming from really challenged background…I think that message of no matter where you’ve been in your life, no matter what kinds of obstacles you had to face and how put down you have felt, the fact that you are still here and you’re still standing – that message resonates with everybody.”
One of the students, Nkosingiphile Mabaso said Oprah’s gesture “is the highlight of my life so far…It was amazing, I wept. It was moving, it was real and it meant everything. I want to see it again – I want to bring all my friends and family!”
Like Oprah once said, “when you’re changing a girl’s life it’s not just that life. You start to affect a family, a community, a nation.” She’s indeed positively affecting South Africa and we ought to be grateful and thankful for all she has done for the country.