During her visit with the late Nelson Mandela in December 2000, Oprah Winfrey pledged to build a world-class school for girls in South Africa. Two years later, on 6 December 2002, Mr Mandela and the then Minister of Education, Professor Kader Asmal, joined Ms Winfrey to break ground on the site of the Academy – located in Henley on Klip in Gauteng province.
In January 2007, the Academy officially opened its doors to girls in Grades 7 and 8, and now serves approximately 290 girls from Grade 8 to 12.
Through a generous personal donation made by Ms Winfrey, the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy Foundation (OWLAF) contributed more than US$40 million towards the Academy’s creation. The Foundation continues to fund the school and its boarding facilities. The Foundation is a Section 21 company registered in South Africa, as well as an Illinois not-for-profit corporation and a US 501(c)(3).
Eligibility and Criteria
The Selection Process
Once all applications have been received and screened, testing will be arranged for those applicants who meet the criteria. There are several stages to the selection process:
- Stage 1: Entrance tests. Applicants who meet the initial criteria will be invited to write entrance tests, which will be held at a number of different venues throughout South Africa.
- Stage 2: More extensive testing – academic and leadership potential. Further selection and more extensive testing of academic and leadership potential will follow.
- Stage 3: Selection camps – clinical interviews and a range of psychological assessments.
- Final selection camps, lasting 2 or 3 days, will be held at the Academy later in the year.
- Stage 4: Home visits and registration.
All successful students will be registered at their homes at the end of the process.
Students may qualify for a scholarship if:
- their mark for Maths & English is above 70%
- they are a South African Citizen or permanent resident
- their family or household total income before deductions is less than R30 000 per month
- they are currently in Grade 7 (2020)
Awards and Benefits
From Oprah’s own speech.
- Each graduating class continues to strive for their personal best because that is all I ask of them for this great gift of education – their personal best.
- Each class continues to aim to bring positive change to their communities, their hometowns, their families and of course to themselves because what I know for sure is that education continues to be the key to transforming lives.
- I know too, that when you educate a girl she takes what she learns back to her community.
- When you invest in a young woman you are investing in the future, not only of South Africa but also of the world.
- So these young ladies are a symbol and a beacon of light, of what is possible.
- One of the most rewarding things in my life has been to see them blossom into the women I knew they could become when I first saw them as young pups coming into the school.
- Thank you to the leadership and to all who continue to support the Academy and the Foundation. Our work continues.
How To Apply
To apply please click here