JOHANNESBURG - American media mogul and philanthropist Oprah Winfrey on Thursday encouraged South Africans to take ownership of their lives despite their backgrounds and circumstances, and also take life lessons from global icon, Nelson Mandela.
Winfrey said that Mandela had chosen to fill himself with gratitude for the lessons he had learnt and managed to raised a nation instead of being filled with bitterness, rage and fury for the years that were taken away from him, saying that South Africa and the world was a better place because of that.
"I loved [Mandela] so and he was my favourite mentor because he was a man who could have sought revenge, but instead he sought reconciliation. He was a man who could have and had every right to hate his oppressors, but instead he hated their policies. And he was a man who could have actually crushed his opponents with his power, but he chose to defeat them without ever dishonouring them," Winfrey said.
"In 2002, I made a decision to come to South Africa to come do Christmas kindness. We took thousands and thousands of books and toys. People said it would not be sustainable. I said but the memory will be. I know not everyone can build a school, but you can take care of someone closest to you. You can ask "how can I be greater than myself?" Each one is supposed to teach one. When you learn, you teach. When you get, you give."
Winfrey was speaking in Soweto at the "Is'thunzi Sabafazi" [Dignity of Women] event organised by the Nelson Mandela Foundation to coincide with the centenary of Madiba's birth.