Oprah Winfrey was in South Africa to speak to over 250 girls and young women who are supported by Dreams – Determined, Resilient, Empowered, Aids-free, Mentored and Safe – a US initiative that aims to reduce new HIV infections in adolescents and young women in 10 sub-Saharan African countries, including South Africa. Oprah spoke about her religious upbringing, and told the girls/women that their past should not define their future.
“I grew up in the church. My grandmother led me to the sense of God and made me believe there was a greater force than me. I grew up believing that God was my father and Jesus was my brother, which meant I could do anything in life.
“In life you cannot trust yourself only, there must be some higher force you trust in, be it God, the community or an organization, because you cannot be successful on your own,” she told the girls, adding that their history and past experiences – no matter how unfortunate – should not define their future.
“What you do today and where you see yourself is what matters.
“You need to know what kind of woman you want to be and where you want to be, not just in terms of profession, but in life. Life will lead you where you want to go … People pay attention to people who excel and excellence is a deterrent for sexism,” Oprah said.