Monday, January 08, 2007

Oprah Winfrey's Leadership Academy

Article on the news yesterday told us that Oprah Winfrey's Leadership Academy was due to open soon in South Africa. Nice idea that. It's something that Oprah pledged to Nelson Mandela a few years back to do.

I must congratulate her for this. To give underprivileged kids the opportunity to gain an education in such a poor country is great. The school cost in the vicinity of US$40m to build and will have the best teachers/instructors/life coaches etc and the students are not allowed to get pregnant. It is for girls only. And these girls must come from an underprivileged background and be straight A students. You will see girls that fit the bill busting their arses to get into this school.

My concern is really that it should be called Oprah Winfrey's Leadership Academy for Underprivileged Over-Acheivers. It doesn't really fit the bill of looking after the students that have been over-looked and forgotten. Rather, it will be an elitist school which will have intangible benefits for the poor communities. Results to improve the lives of people in the communites surrounding it will only materialise once these students have graduated and started to put something back into the communities that they came from. Perhaps the students will all be scholars and head overseas never to be seen again and lost to their country.

Probably the worst publicity that could be generated is "The first Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy Student to be Murdered" or "The first Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy Student to Become Pregnant and Expelled" headlines that are inevitable. It's a pity that Oprah couldn't have done a little more to help out at the grassroots level. Still, we shall see.

Having said all that I do firmly believe that some genuine world leaders will emerge and create much betterment for their brothers and sisters.


honkeie2 said...

my only beef with this is that it was only designed to house about 200 students......200 in a country with millions....hmmmm got me thinking a little.

Hammy said...

She'll get the cream of the crop.

Joe said...

Well, it's hard to criticize her for her philantropic efforts. Yes there will be headlines, but we shouldn't lose sight of the fact that she's trying.