In the land of the blameless, no good deed goes unpunished - Tim Cohen
South Africans appear to regard Winfrey’s act of magnanimity as an implied insult to our ability to educate our own children, which is cruelly ironic, considering the plummeting pass rates and declining educational standards.
You don’t have to be a fan of Oprah Winfrey to appreciate her brave attempt to help at least a handful of mainly black schoolgirls find a route out of a cycle of poverty and poor education. But ever since this plainly good-hearted, well-intentioned attempt to coil back the springs of action began two years ago, it has turned into an ongoing nightmare for Winfrey, who has been heckled, criticised, gawked at and finally sued - by her own former headmistress, Nomvuyo Mzamane. Oh yes. And some of her pupils were harassed by a dorm matron who is now facing 14 charges of harassment, in a chilling reminder to Winfrey of her own history of childhood sexual abuse.
The thanklessness of South Africans at this plainly magnanimous gesture has been simply stunning. Why Winfrey perseveres with the project in the face of such hostility is an open question and a tribute to her fortitude – as well as being a mark of shame on her host country, South Africa.