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[LIVE BLOG] Oprah Winfrey: 'Women will save South Africa'

Media mogul Oprah Winfrey joins Graca Machel, Redi Tlhabi, Zoleka Mandela and Josina Machel at a women's event at UJ Soweto.

You can watch the Isthunzi Sbafazi- Dignity of Women Dialogue live.

Is'thunzi Sabafazi - Dignity of Women

Watch Oprah Winfrey deliver a keynote address live from Soweto, followed by a conversation with Graca Machel, Jozina Z Machel and Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka on how we can build a caring society, that treats women and men equally and justly. Hosted in conjunction with the Nelson Mandela Foundation and the Graça Machel Trust, the event is part of the "Remembrance period" to mark five years since Madiba’s passing and to recognise the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence. The event will focus on how we purposefully create a caring society that prioritises women and adolescents and creates the conditions for a dignified life, in a society like South Africa where the murder rate of women is three times the global average and 68.5% of women have experienced forms of sexual violence.

Posted by Nelson Mandela Foundation on Thursday, 29 November 2018

Machel says she has learnt that the experience of pain and womanhood is real, but healing is possible. And with that,we end our day.

We now wrap up. Tlhabi says Josina should write a book.

"Our laws are too perpetrator-centric," says Mlambo-Ngcuka about the need to change our laws.

Mlambo-Ngcuka says killing a woman is not a crime of passion. There is no passion in that.

Tlhabi talks about the struggles women face when they have to report abuse. "Have we created a safe environment for them?"

"We are in a state of war..." Machel says.

Machel says we need have a community that cares for women.

Machel says we need to restore women's dignity in their moment of desperation.

Machel only got attention when she told the hospital who she was.

Machel says her hospital and police documents disappeared after her incident. It took about 18 months to go to court because documents kept disappearing. She says she suffered secondary victimisation.

Mlambo-Ngcuka says we need men to stand up,stop child marriages and say not in my name.They needto decide not to abuse women and kids.The good men need to speak out.

The panelists talks about how we should be empowering women and whether we are actually making progress with this.

Mlambo-Ngcuka says Madiba must feel that women are standing up and fighting for themselves.

Dr Mlambo-Ngcuka addresses the freedom women and children lose when they are abused.

Machel says when she told her mom just before she had an operation, she couldn't believe it.

Machel speaks about how her mother reacted when she first heard the news about the incident.

Josina Machel is a victim of a horrific abuse incident when her partner struck her. She lost sight in one eye.

There will now be a panel discussion with Josina Machel and Mlambo-Ngcuka.

Winfrey is being presented with a special gift now.

"No one can say it's not my business... You are human,you have immense gifts inside you. Learn from Oprah Winfrey, learn from Madiba," mama Graca says.

"We as SA, we as Africa, we as the world, we would never be able to thank you enough," Mama Graca tells Winfrey.

"Oprah, I've never seen anyone who has made a decision to build a school for girls... The beauty of it is that Oprah spends time to give back, to listen to girls..."

Mama Graca reiterates Winfrey that women will heal SA.

Mama Graca says today is not an event, but an empowering moment.

Mama Graca says young women matter.

Mama Graca says she knew this event would be incomplete if Oprah wasn't here.

The UN Women's Dr Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka will take the stage soon. For now, Mama Graca is up.

"I never lose, I either win or I learn," she quotes him. She says there is no such thing as failure,it is just a mistake moving you in a better direction.

Winfrey will end her talk with a quote from Madiba.

"There is not one thing that happened to you that didn't happen for you."

Winfrey talks about drawing strength from her ancestors whenever she feels at her lowest. Recognise the ways in which our ancestors are woven in our story. Tell your story."

"Your day will come... I applaud your resilience...

"Never give up..." she tells young people.

"If you don't fill your own cup, other people will drain you dry..."

She says she used to be scared when people told her she is full of herself. "Unless you are full,you don't have enough to give everyone else.You have to fill your on cup.":

Winfrey says she opened her school because it wasimperative to help build a better future for girls in SA.

"Hope without a plan is meaningless..." she says.

Winfrey says when she started making enough money for herself and her family, she started thinking of who else she can help. "You can take care of the person closest to you," she says.

Winfrey introduces some of the alumni from her school who are here today,one of them is the first doctor to come from the school. In total, 191 girls are in varsity. "That is the answer to the questionof how I can serve," she says. "Each one is supposed to teach one..."

"I wanted to give girls a chance," she says.

Madiba made a call to then Minister of Edu Kader Asmal to help Winfrey with her plan for a school.

Winfrey says she believes women will save SA.

Winfrey talks about opening her girls academy in 2007, she says the idea first came when she was with Madiba in his living room and she read a story about a boy who couldn't get an education.

Winfrey encourages the crowd to be of service.

"He knew that mountains could be moved... if we would alljoin hands in service of something greater than ourselves," she quotes Martin Luther King saying "Greatness can only be determined by service."

Winfrey says she was nervous when she went to Qunu,but became comfortable to the point where they sat in silence,reading the paper. "He was most concerned always about poverty and its devastation... as I am concerned now about young people who are not being empowered about the quality of education they deserve..."

"The spirit of him abides with all of us..."

"We are Mandela's children, we are his legacy...," she says.

Madiba would talk about life, prison etc. She says learned that his goodness, integrity, soul could not be contained in a prison cell. "I am here to remind us that his spirit lives."

Winfrey and her long-time partner Steadman stayed at the house for 10 days.She jokes about how she didn't know what she'd say for 10 days.

That same year, Madiba asked Winfrey to come stay at his home. "I said like - in this house," she jokes.

A group of nuns visited her family and made them see that they were "not forgotten". "I never forgot it," she says. This inspired her to come to SA in 2002, giving gifts to kids around the country. "I did that, even though many people said it's not sustainable... I said 'but the memory will be sustainable'".

In Christmas 2002, Winfrey says she started thinking about giving back to SA. She talks about the Christmases she spent as a poor child and the hardships they experienced.

"Sanibonani..." Winfrey greets the crowd. She says this is her 36th visit to SA. She was called by Mama Graca who asked her to give the keynote. Winfrey starts off by hailing Nelson Mandela and how he led SA into democracy without holding any bitterness towards his oppressors. She says after meeting him for the first time,she was inspired to do something for SA.

Winfrey now takes to the stage.

Tlhabi is about to introduce Winfrey.Before that,she gives a shout out to Mama Winnie Madikizela-Mandela.

Ndebele thanks Winfrey for coming. He says we admire you and love you for all you do for SA. He asks the crowd to go away from this more compassionate, caring and inspired to make a better world. He ends of with that.

Ndebele says we are gathered to hear remarkable women today to hear their experiences and the wisdom they carry.

Ndebele says the Mandela Foundation works to promote reflections on our society and act to implement change.

"We forget that women and children,in so many ways, are part of our future..." Ndebele says.

Chairman of the Mandela Foundation, Njabulo Ndebele now gives opening remarks.

Tlhabi is now on stage. She is MC for the day. She shares shocking stats about women and child abuse in SA and asks if we want to continue living in such a society.

Panelists Redi Tlhabi, Josina Machel, Graca Machel, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka and Oprah Winfrey are on stage. Chants of "Oprah, Oprah..." ring out.

Members of the Mandela, Sisulu and Tambo family are here.

CEO of the Mandela Foundation, Sello Hatang, welcomes guests.

Zonke leads the hall in singing the national anthem.

SA superstar Zonke Dikana is now on stage,singing some of her best hits. The crowd is absolutely loving her.

Distinguished guest, including Basetsana Khumalo, Mama Graca Machel, Josina Machel and of course Oprah Winfresy have arrived.

The Chairman and Board of Trustees of the Nelson Mandela Foundation, in collaboration with the Graca Machel Trust are hosting the Is'thunzi Sabafazi event at the University of Johannesburg Soweto campus this afternoon to mark five years since Madiba’s passing and to recognise the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-based Violence. 

The discussion will focus on how we purposefully create a caring society that prioritises women and adolescents and creates the conditions for a dignified life.

At this event, which will be facilitated by Redi Thlabi, media personality Oprah Winfrey will deliver a keynote address, followed by a conversation with Jozina Z Machel and Zoleka Mandela on their views relating to the dignity of women and how a caring society that is equal and just to both men and women can be built.