The $40 million Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls, situated in the small town of Henley-on-Klip, south of Johannesburg, aims to give 152 girls from deprived backgrounds a high quality education.
Mandela said in a statement, "This is a lady that has, despite her own disadvantaged background, become one of the benefactors of the disadvantaged throughout the world."
At a press conference to mark the opening, Winfrey said she hoped the school would "change the face of a nation. Girls who are educated are less likely to get AIDS and in this country that has such a pandemic, we have to begin to change the pandemic.
"I wanted to give this opportunity to girls who had a light so bright that not even poverty could dim that light."
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