Gallo Images / Sunday Times / Kevin Sutherland
“Your success, however you choose to define that, is my reward, and your fulfillment as a human being,” she said.
Oprah Winfrey sits down for a heart to heart with the graduates from The Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls, whom she affectionately calls her “daughters,” in a new interview series, Talk To Me, by the Huffington Post.
Three of Winfrey’s graduates, Nkosi Mabaso, Zimkita Mpumpula and Palesa Mokoena ask her about her happiest moment, workplace diversity and her biggest wish.
In all the memorable moments Winfrey has experienced in her lifetime and career, she names the present moment with these three bright young women as her happiest moment. “This is a really happy moment for me. It’s a full circle moment of what is possible when you believe in someone. I don’t know anything that could top that,” she said.
On how Winfrey overcame working in an environment where people didn’t have the same belief in her potential, she quotes the late Maya Angelou, “I feel sorry for everybody that’s not a black woman,’” Angelou used to say. “And I kind of feel that too. And it’s something that I celebrate; I honor it because I know where I come from and I know the price that so many other women paid for me to be here,” says Winfrey.
“There is no room that I walk into, that I don’t think of Maya’s poem ‘To Our Grandmothers,’ where she says, ‘I come as one, but I stand as 10,000.’ I never stand alone, because I’m bringing all those women, all the people who hoped and dreamed and prayed that there might be an Oprah Winfrey,” she says. “You worked to get here, and there are generations who worked to get you here.”
Mpumpula thanked Winfrey for encouraging her and changing her life before asking Winfrey what her biggest wish was for every single OWLAG girl. Winfrey simply answered, “Your happiness is my reward.”
“Your success, however you choose to define that, is my reward, and your fulfillment as a human being,” she said. “I started out doing this as a gift to Nelson Mandela, as a gift to the country of South Africa, as a gift to each one of you. And it turned out to be the greatest gift I could have given myself,” she said tearfully.
Winfrey states her greatest hope is that each of her “daughters” gets to be who they were called to be.
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