On 2 December 2018, our OWLAG founder, Oprah Winfrey, joined talented performers Beyoncé, Jay Z, Pharrell Williams, Ed Sheeran, Chris Martin, and others on stage to deliver the keynote address at South Africa’s highly-anticipated Global Citizen Festival, held in Johannesburg. Oprah was given the honour of introducing President Cyril Ramaphosa to the audience.
Presented and hosted by The Motsepe Foundation, business moguls, philanthropists, world leaders and artists from around the world gathered at the Global Citizen Festival to raise awareness and funds to end global poverty. The event was held in the year that would have seen Nelson Mandela celebrate his 100th birthday and was followed closely by the rest of the world.
In her address, Oprah reflected on the lessons we can all learn from Nelson Mandela’s legacy. She perfectly captured his humanitarian spirit when she said, "His legacy continues to live, and tonight it speaks to us— it urges each one of us to become a global citizen forging a more equitable and secure world for all people. We can use this global citizen platform to fuel a movement of individual acts of grace and heroism and humanity, just as Madiba wanted."
Back on the OWLAG campus we had a viewing party for our students. The girls all gathered in the theatre to cheer on Mom O as she passionately spoke about what it means to be a global citizen, and to hear the other artists and speakers who advocated for the end to poverty and hunger.
A few days prior to this, Oprah joined Graça Machel, an honorary OWLAG board member, at the Isithunzi Sabafazi event hosted by The Nelson Mandela Foundation. With many proud OWLAG alumni cheering her on from the crowd, Oprah delivered the keynote address in which she spoke about her love for South Africa and promoted gender equality.
Oprah herself is an inspiration to so many people, and so to hear her urge each one of us to make a difference to the lives of others, one could not help but stop and listen and take her impassioned plea to heart. Let’s make 2019 the year to positively impact the lives of others and keep Oprah’s call to end extreme poverty and gender inequality going strong.