Oprah’s ‘O-Mavericks’ out to make their mark in the world

23 January 2018 - 16:38 By Kgaugelo Masweneng
Graduates from the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls.
Graduates from the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls.
Image: Supplied

Young graduates from the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls (OWLAG) – fondly referred to as the “O-Mavericks” – continue to shine bright in their pursuit of greater academic achievements.

In her recent well received acceptance speech for the Cecil B. DeMille Lifetime Achievement Award at the Golden Globes‚ Winfrey said the one quality she admired in people she worked with was that they had the “ability to maintain hope for a brighter morning‚” something her school has instilled in its students.

Ever wondered where alumnae from OWLAG are since it was founded in 2007?

TimesLIVE took a look at what some of the young women are up to 11 years later.

Thembisile Malinga who is enrolled to study BCom (Accounting) at the University of Pretoria (UP) told TimesLIVE that she was looking forward to her studies.

“I’m excited because I am going to be the first one in my family to go to university‚” Malinga said.

Malinga received the 2017 Oprah Winfrey Leadership Award – an accolade recognising achievements that exemplify leadership‚ caring‚ and generosity of spirit.

Her late mother would have been proud of her achievements‚ she said.

“I lost my mother in 2010. We didn’t always have money and I had to accept that I couldn’t have certain things other kids have. This was because my dad worked as a driver. Since I went to OWLAG with sponsorship‚ the financial weight has been lifted from my father’s shoulders‚” said Malinga.

OWLAG 2017 top achiever Arabela Chilwane will be studying Chemical Engineering at the Witwatersrand University.

“I am excited because going to university is a big deal for me. I will see where the journey takes me. This is the time for us to discover more and more about ourselves. I will learn as I go into it.” she said.

From the first matric class of 2011‚ Bongeka Zuma graduated from Spelman College in Atlanta in 2016 and completed her master’s in medical anthropology at Oxford in 2017.

Zuma is currently a 1st year student at the Stanford University Medical School.

From the class of 2012‚ Lindiwe Tsope completed all her studies at Rhodes University. She has completed her BA Social Science (Hons) in Industrial and Economic Sociology‚ Masters in Industrial and Economic Sociology and has received a full scholarship to continue her PhD at Rhodes University.

She was awarded the Investec Top 100 Leadership Award in 2016 and 2017 for her leadership contribution at Rhodes University.

The seventh graduating class of OWLAG achieved a 100% pass rate. The Class of 2017‚ comprised of 57 girls‚ graduated with a combined total of 134 distinctions.