Oprah Winfrey has done many things in her life: survive abuse, become a self-made celebrity, hold down the most famous, beloved and richest woman spot for years, rock a talk show for 25 years and receive multiple honors. On Friday, the mega-star accepted an honorary doctorates from the University of Free State in South Africa.
The name of the school is ironic as the controversial predominately white institution has struggled with its race relations and integrating the school. Just five years ago, four white students shot a video of themselves making crass racist jokes about their Black cleaning staff by eating a stew that was supposed to be laced with urine. How this is supposed to represent Black South Africans is a mystery but so is racism in the first place. Although the offenders apologized earlier this year, the hurt is surely still there.
Winfrey being Winfrey, acknowledged this when she called the housekeepers heroes, The Washington Post reports. The paper quotes her as saying, “What has happened here at Free State in terms of racial reconciliation, of peace, of harmony, of one heart understanding and opening itself to another heart is nothing short of a miracle…It is truly what the new South Africa is all about.” Hopefully Winfrey's presence and words helps to open the minds of a country that outlawed apartheid in the nineties and made Nelson Mandela it's first post-segregation president.