Oprah Receives Honorary Doctorate Degree in Africa

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    Call her Dr. Oprah Winfrey!

    On Friday, Oprah visited South Africa, where she was given an honorary doctorate degree in education from the University of the Free State.

    Winfrey dressed in formal cap and gown for the affair.

    Guests in attendance report that she was moved to tears while on stage for the presentation.

    The university of approximately 30,000 students in the central farming town of Bloemfontein rolled out the red carpet, staging a ceremony for one that the Chicago Sun-Times says rivaled the type of pomp and circumstance normally drummed up for a whole graduating class.

    The citation that came with her degree says Winfrey has become a true South African. “She did so because she believed that there was important work to be done here, and she wanted to be part of what Nelson Mandela and others had begun.”

    Oprah Winfrey famously opened her South African school for girls in 2007, and weathered a scandal in which a dormitory staffer was accused of sexually assaulting students.

    A different scandal plagued the University of the Free State five years ago, when white students were caught humiliating black housekeeping staffers and objecting to integration of the historically white college. Winfrey eventually reached out to Jonathan Jensen, the first black administrator of the college, whose success in achieving a public reconciliation between the two sides set a tone of forgiveness for the entire student body.

    In the auditorium, Winfrey knelt on a padded stool, flashing her red stiletto heels as the doctorate degree was bestowed in front of a jubliant audience of more than 4,000.

    “What has happened here at Free State in terms of racial reconciliation, of peace, of harmony, of one heart understanding and opening itself to another heart is nothing short of a miracle,” she said. “It is truly what the new South Africa is all about.”

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