*Two students from the inaugural class of the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls in South Africa were among the graduates on hand at Johnson C. Smith University to see “Mom O” deliver the commencement address to their graduating class.
“Nothing would keep me from being here to celebrate the promise that I made to Nelson Mandela over 10 years ago,” Winfrey said during her keynote speech on Sunday (May 15), according to the AP.
During the rousing 37-minute address, she told stories, shared pointed advice, quoted the likes of Maya Angelou and Martin Luther King, Jr., and offered both inspiration and encouragement.
“Every stumble is not a fall, and every fall does not mean failure,” Winfrey told the graduates. “Being human means you will make mistakes. And you will make mistakes, because failure is God’s way of moving you in another direction.”
“You make me so proud and your future’s so bright, JCSU, it burns my eyes,” she concluded. “Go with God.”
Below, Oprah School grad Mpumi Nobiva said at a JCSU press conference Sunday morning that graduation from college is a proud day for her because of all the obstacles she has faced.
In addition to Mpumi and Thando at JCSU, Oprah was also on hand to witness other Leadership Academy alumnae graduate from several other schools that weekend: Tabitha at Mt.Hollyoke (pictured in the Instagram shot above) and another “daughter-girl” graduating from Spelman.
Watch a local news report of Oprah’s commencement address below: