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Oprah attends inaugural graduation at her South Africa school

Michelly Rall / Getty Images

Oprah Winfrey and Graca Machel, the wife of former South African president Nelson Mandela, greet the graduates at the inaugural graduation of the class of 2011 at the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls, Jan. 14, in Henley on Klip, South Africa.

Michelly Rall / Getty Images

Oprah Winfrey poses with the Graduates at the inaugural graduation of the class of 2011 at Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls.

Reuters reports:

"The pride that I feel today is overpowering," Winfrey said at the graduation. "I have been on a mission my whole life to be able to give back what I have been given. Today I am fulfilling that mission."

"This class will prove that when you invest in the leadership of girls, you invest in a nation," said Winfrey, who herself emerged from childhood poverty to become one of the most influential women on American television.

Full story: First class graduates from Oprah's South Africa school

Siphiwe Sibeko / Reuters

Parents celebrate as they arrive for the school's first graduation ceremony at the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls at Henley-on-Klip, South Africa, Jan. 14.

Jerome Delay / AP

Graduates line up before the start of the first graduation ceremony at Oprah Winfrey's Leadership Academy for Girls.

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