Winfrey meets family of first child to complain of abuse

Oprah Winfrey has met with the family of the first pupil to complain of abuse at her elite school for disadvantaged South African girls, and invited the girl to return to the academy.

The United States magazine People quoted the father of the girl as saying they met for two hours with Winfrey on Sunday at the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls and that it was the first meeting since they had withdrawn their child from the school after staff ignored her complaints.

A spokesperson for Winfrey, Angela de Paul, confirmed the meeting and its purpose. The school had been heavily guarded over the weekend.

A dormitory matron has been accused of indecent assault and criminal injury against six students aged 13 to 15 and a 23-year-old fellow dormitory matron is to be charged in court next month.

Last month, Winfrey said school officials tried to hide the facts from her. She said she would not be renewing the contract of the suspended headmistress, who denies knowledge of any abuse, and indicated other staff also would be dismissed.

People quoted the pupil’s father, whom it did not name, as saying the meeting was very emotional.

He said he was very happy that Winfrey had invited his daughter to return to the school to complete eighth grade, and invited the family to an end-of-year party this week.

Talk Radio 702 said on Wednesday that Winfrey would stay at the school through the weekend, when it closes for the Christmas holiday.

Winfrey opened the school outside Johannesburg on January 2 2007 to great fanfare with celebrities in attendance including Tina Turner, Spike Lee, Sidney Poitier and former president Nelson Mandela.

The $40-million school was the fulfillment of a promise she made to Mandela six years ago, and aims to give girls from deprived backgrounds a quality education in a country where schools are struggling to overcome the legacy of white-minority rule. – Sapa-AP

We make it make sense

If this story helped you navigate your world, subscribe to the M&G today for just R30 for the first three months

Subscribers get access to all our best journalism, subscriber-only newsletters, events and a weekly cryptic crossword.”

Related stories


Already a subscriber? Sign in here


Latest stories

Spaza shops take centre stage in township economy

Consumers living in such areas are spending more at spazas than big retailers, according to a report

PODCAST| Monkeypox: How it spreads, when to test and why...

The smallpox vaccine provides 85% protection against infection with monkeypox, but South Africa stopped vaccinating people against smallpox in 1980

Nike x Jacquemus collab: What to expect

The Nike x Jacquemus collaboration drops on Tuesday 28 June online. So far, no ludicrously tiny handbags in sight, but luxurious feminine twists on activewear that make this the collection you didn’t know you needed

Test cricket is dead, but not for the eager Proteas

Even before the demise of this format of the game was predicted, the women’s team had little opportunity to experience and enjoy it

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…