Oprah Winfrey speaks at the Is’thunzi Sabafazi - The Dignity of Women held at the University of Johannesburg (UJ)’s Soweto Campus. . Picture Simphiwe Mbokazi African News Agency (ANA).

Oprah Winfrey paid tribute to Nelson Mandela and promoting gender equality at an event in South Africa, where she opened an academy for girls a decade ago.

The former talk show host on Thursday joined Graca Machel, Mandela's widow and an advocate of women's and children's rights, at the Soweto campus of the University of Johannesburg. The crowd erupted in cheers.

The Nelson Mandela Foundation is co-hosting the event, a century after Mandela was born. The anti-apartheid leader and South Africa's first black president died in 2013 at age 95.

Oprah, who recently lost her mother Vernita Winfrey, will also deliver a special keynote address at the Africa's first-ever Global Citizen Festival in honour of Madiba.

The December 2 event, which will be held at FNB Stadium in Johannesburg - is the culmination of Global Citizen’s “Mandela 100” campaign in partnership with the House of Mandela; a series of global events honouring the life and legacy of Nelson Mandela in his centenary year.

AP and IOL