Oprah and the new students cut the ribbon on Oprah's leadership academy.

Photo:© 2007 Harpo Productions, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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On January 2, 2007, after years of planning, building and dreaming, Oprah and some very excited girls finally cut the ribbon…and the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls–South Africa was officially opened.

"I was trying very hard through the whole process not to be emotional. I didn't want to cry because I didn't want the girls to then start crying by seeing me crying," Oprah says. "I was thinking about [South Africa being] only 12 years out of apartheid and [having] only 12 years of real freedom. And now these girls who are 12 years old—the first of their generation to ever have this kind of freedom—will have an opportunity like no other. I thank everybody for your support for that."

More information on the academy: