Oprah Winfrey: ‘Nelson Mandela raised a nation’

The celebrated TV host gave the keynote address at the University of Johannesburg, as part of the Is’thunzi Sabafazi initiative hosted by the Nelson Mandela Foundation.

American TV talk show host Oprah Winfrey arrives at the University of Johannesburg on 29 November 2018 as a guest speaker for the Is'thunzi Sabafazi women's dialogue. Picture: Kayleen Morgan/EWN

SOWETO - American TV icon Oprah Winfrey says former President Nelson Mandela could have South with bitterness for the years that were taken from him by the apartheid government but instead he filled himself with gratitude for lessons learned and the friendships he formed even in prison.

Winfrey says although Mandela spent 27 years behind bars and was not able to raise his children, he did manage to raise a nation.

The celebrated TV host gave the keynote address at the University of Johannesburg as part of the Is’thunzi Sabafazi initiative hosted by the Nelson Mandela Foundation.

Winfrey began her address by sharing some of her fondest memories of the late former president.

Winfrey remembers when Tata invited her to his home in Qunu in the Eastern Cape.

“He said, Graca and I want you to stay at our home. I asked, ‘In the house? In the same place where you sleep?’, he says ‘yes’.”

Winfrey says it was in those 10 days that she stayed at his home that she told the leader she wanted to build a school for girls in South Africa.

“We would talk about life, and his years in prison and his experiences.”

She says her message on Thursday to young people is to never give up.

WATCH: Is’thunzi Sabafazi – The Dignity of Women

EVERYONE CAN DO GOOD

Winfrey says while not everyone can build a school or make legendary promises, everyone can do good wherever they are.

“But you can take care of a person who’s closest to you. You can offer help, you can offer assistance. You can ask, ‘how can I be used for something greater than myself?’.”

During her speech, former First Lady Graca Machel said it's women who will heal the world.

“Women will heal this nation… women will heal this continent.”

She thanked Winfrey for her unfailing hard work and commitment to the people of South Africa.

WATCH: Winfrey: 'I had 10 days and nights and 29 meals with Nelson Mandela'

(Edited by Mihlali Ntsabo)