Photo Credit: Oprah Winfrey

Oprah recently deemed one of the great joys of her life as the moment one of her Academy’s first learners walked across the graduation stage at Stanford University! From KZN to Oxford and Stanford, Bongeka’s story is one of great inspiration:


Stanford, United States of America (18 June 2024) — There are few things more inspiring than seeing a fellow South African grow from humble beginnings into someone who have reached the peaks of their wildest dreams. These stories remind us that life can change at any moment in our favour. That greatness often comes from forgotten places. And, that with enough hard work, dreams can become the lore of our lives. One such story is Bongeka’s—the recently celebrated Dr Zuma.

Bongeka Zuma’s story has seen her grow from chapter to chapter. From humble beginnings in a small community of KwaZulu-Natal to joining the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy’s first class, to the esteemed halls of Oxford University and now as a graduate from Standford University, Bongeka’s achievements deserve a stage all their own.

Recently, the new Doctor of Medicine was awarded the fruit of her academic labour at a graduation ceremony. Many present were in awe of what she has achieved, but one particular attendee was easily the proudest of all—none-other-than Oprah Winfrey herself.

Not only was Oprah proud, she also deemed her daughter-girl Bongeka’s recent feat an extra-special graduation, and one of the joys of her life.

“I’ve been to 22 graduations for all my daughter-girls who cam from the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy in South Africa to colleges and universities across the United States. This one was extra special. 

“Daughter-girl Bongeka first graduated summa cum laude at Spelman, then she got her master’s degree at Oxford, and this weekend she received her hard-earned Doctor of Medicine from Stanford University,” Oprah beamed.

Oprah added:

“One of the great joys of my life was to see her walk across that stage! Knowing where she’s come from, a small community in KwaZulu-Natal, and how strongly she believed in becoming a doctor. 

“She never gave up, and with a support team of good friends, fellow OWLAG sisters and professors, we all celebrated her achievement with great pride. Congratulations, Dr Zuma. Well done! Well done.

While Oprah beamed about Bongeka, Good Things Guy was reminded of a time where our Brent Lindeque beamed about Oprah after getting to meet the icon in person! You can read all about it, here. 

Sources: Oprah Winfrey 
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About the Author

Ashleigh Nefdt is a writer for Good Things Guy.

Ashleigh's favourite stories have always seen the hidden hero (without the cape) come to the rescue. As a journalist, her labour of love is finding those everyday heroes and spotlighting their spark - especially those empowering women, social upliftment movers, sustainability shakers and creatives with hearts of gold. When she's not working on a story, she's dedicated to her canvas or appreciating Mother Nature.

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