Five quotes from Oprah Winfrey’s Mandela tribute

Hundreds flocked to hear Oprah Winfrey pay tribute to Nelson Mandela at the Soweto campus of the University of Johannesburg on Thursday afternoon.

The Nelson Mandela Foundation hosted a dialogue called Isithunzi sabafazi, with a panel of four women chaired by Redi Tlhabi. 

Winfrey was joined by executive director of UN Women and former deputy president Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Mandela’s widow Graça Machel and her daughter, Josina Machel.

Winfrey delivered the keynote speech that had many in the crowd cheering.

She expressed her love for SA, noting that this was her 36th visit to the
country. 

Here are 5  quotes from Winfrey’s tribute.

1. “I believe women will save SA”

Winfrey said this was what gave her the idea to build her Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls, which opened in Johannesburg in 2007. It was done in support of Mandela’s vision to alleviate poverty. 

“We love the men, but we believe that women are the ones to do it.” 

More than 190 graduates from the school are studying at universities across the world.  

2. 10 nights, 10 days and 29 meals with Nelson Mandela.  

The story of how Winfrey spent Christmas  at the Mandela home in Qunu, in the Eastern Cape, in 2002, is one of her favourites. 

“I don’t have 10 days and 10 nights worth of conversation. What am I going to do?”

Winfrey said her life-changing dinner-table conversations with Mandela allowed her to be comfortable with the struggle icon, to the point where they would just sit in silence and read the paper.

“It was the most amazing, fantastical thing that has ever happened to me, of all the things that have happened in my life. 

“I wanted to sit at dinner with a notepad, but I didn’t. What I learned in those 10 days and nights, and 29 meals, was that his goodness, his integrity, his soul could not be contained in a seven-by-nine-foot cell.”

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