Thursday, March 08, 2007

Go Sit Down, Oprah!

The school will teach girls to be the best human beings they can ever be; it will train them to become decision-makers and leaders; it will be a model school for the rest of the world." — Oprah Winfrey

Go sit down Oprah!

Me don't like this her idea of a special school for African girls... and I think Oprah should go sit down. Say what you may, but I'm not kidding. 40 million dollars on a fugging school for a handful of African girls, when the lives of millions could be changed with far less.

I can't stick this idea of coming to "Africa" to play the role of Messiah, doling out millions of dollars to reproduce yourself in a few out of the multitude. I don't see what she's doing as different than what the Belgians did when they split people into Hutu and Tutsi in central Africa, based on such things as the shapes of their bodies etc.

Forty million dollars would be better spent building hundreds of schools for young Africans, instead of an elitist institution that will create little Oprahs out of these girls. She might as well have flown the "lucky" girls off to get American accents and a great education in America.

We need to begin to make it clear that if these muzungu philanthropists cannot make the efforts and sacrifice to make GENUINE changes/impact in Africa, then they should keep their fugging dough to themselves and continue to invest in their Louis Vuttons and yatchs and Cuban cigars.

What Oprah has done in my opinion is nothing to congratulate her about. Let her keep her money! Of course I know all the arguments. Multiplier effects of the few girls she will rescue through her school, blah blah blah. Whatever! It's irritating to imagine a forty million dollar school for the purposes of saving a handful of girls out of the multitude who need saving.

Let's get it clear! Let's fight this mentality that what Africa needs from the West are extravagant schools for the development of an elite few, or magnificent concerts (Geldofesque) or AID agencies that spend far more on consultancy fees, parties and expatriate salaries than on actual aid activity.

When the colonialists were around (not as if they still aren't) they concentrated on building a tiny African elite, giving them all the available opportunities and using them to oppress the unenlightened multitude. The elite, masquerading as independence heroes, became (mostly) the corrupt home-grown politicians of the sixties, neo-colonialists over the bulk of the African continent.
Decades later, people like Oprah are still trying out the ancient tricks!

About the controversial school
The Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy Foundation operates The Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls - South Africa. The Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy Foundation is a Section21A company registered in South Africa, a branch of The Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy Foundation, an Illinois not-for-profit corporation, and a US 501(c)(3).Students The Academy’s purpose is to offer academically talented girls an opportunity to develop their full intellectual, social, and leadership potential. To be eligible to attend, girls must be South African, academically talented, able to demonstrate leadership qualities, and come from a disadvantaged family or community. The 152 girls starting school in 2007 are entering grades 7 and 8. They make up what will be the Academy’s first graduating class. When each of the grades, 7 through 12, is filled with students, approximately 450 girls will attend the Academy.Curriculum The Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy will allow girls to explore the changing world through advanced education techniques and technology. South African teachers and administrators have been selected from the best and the brightest. The curriculum is based on South Africa’s national standards, which includes math, languages, arts and culture, social science, life orientation, and natural science. The Academy’s curriculum expands to include a theme of leadership and leadership development across all courses and activities. Additionally, the curriculum focuses on technology and e-learning.
Facilities and Location
After years of construction, the school’s doors opened. The Academy sits on 52 acres in Henley-on-Klip, Meyerton, Gauteng Province, South Africa. The school provides state-of-the-art facilities including residences, large library, dining hall, theater, gymnasium, wellness center, and much more.


Anonymous said...

Hey there!

I found your article refeshing and humourous on the whole, I definiltely do see what you mean. But the scariest thing for me was when you pointed out how the colonists bought over the majority of the population by creating an elite rich few.

The reason this scares me, is because that's what my home country South Africa is beginning to look like. I'm worried that what may appeae as a democratic and free country on the surface is not, even if the majority do want it.

I'm a patriotic South African, and I believe we're a country that has the potential to reach a greatness like America, but even better because we're less likely to be duped,... or so I thought?

I realise it's a little of topic, but frankly people lke Oprah will always be around, the point is to become a country that doesn't need to fall at her feet because she's flashing dead presidents at us.

It's time we woke up.

Onyeka said...

Friend, this would be the first time in my life when I would read an article of yours that cuts through anger to reveal the secret. You have always being satiric, but this is so strange. Just be strong and lets forget everything about these things...

I'm only looking forward to somethings now...not writing about things that I know I can't stop.

Kiibaati said...

Oh common, its her money and everyone deserves a weakness. If hers is being an american ignorant about africa's priorities, well that's too bad.

Kafo said...

this is refreshing

Kush said...

Opinions are two bob each and blogspot is free. Oprah is investing millions in Africa dude. Don't hate, appreciate.

First time reader said...

You are on the money dude.

Kush misses the point. Good schools exist in Africa. The problem is school fees. How far would this money spread if these girls were sent to the existing good schools.

No one is saying Oprah should not help.

This elitism mindset caused a lot of problems in Africa and some tribes/areas are still suffering as a result of this.

This school is also touted as the only place that will teach the girls to become decision makers and leaders. This is a lie. This kind of irresponsible allegations reinforces predujice against people educated in Africa as being low or non-achievers. Africa has many successful women but its the culture and politics that makes it very hard for women to reach thier full potential.

It will not be any different for these girls if the status quo remains the same.

I know its important to instill ambition in young women. But this places unnecessary stress on the these young ladies ( I assume she has employed psychologists to deal with this)

Wish the girls the best.

Chude! said...

first time reader,

those young ladies need ths stress. the whole of africa needs the stress. and every 'drop of water' from the oprahs goes some way if not a long way

tolu i sha typed one looong reply to this three days ago that basically disagreed with you (throw in one or two abuse sha. lol) and it just disappeared and i stiiiilll dey vex!!!

Will try and remember and post again. Basically thought the post wasnt fair at all. Very unfairly dismissive.

Will post again.

Take care man!

Jola Naibi said...

I am so glad that someone finally said this...I have been quietly fuming because in my mind I think Oprah likes the sound of her voice and it sounds 'patronizing'
You are spot on when you say - 'elitist' school. While there are millions of children who don't have the basic school needs - we are talking desks, chairs, blackboards - on the same continent, we are reading about her flying in making sure that the bedsheets that the girls would have in the school are of a certain 'thread-count' Are you serious?

It just doesn't sound right and all the people who are praising her are losing touch with the reality that will set in when the rubber hits the this is not something to be proud of...but then again like someone said, it is her money and she can do with it what she likes...sadly I don't have $40 million to you?

I like your blog...I'll be back!

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