Oprah Winfrey may be regarded by many as a fairy godmother of sorts, but to the women who graduated from her Leadership Academy all-girls boarding school, she’s so much more than that. The multi-hyphenate celebrated Mother’s Day with some of the 72 girls who were a part of the academy’s first graduating class o Sunday, giving a special shout-out to Lizhuwani Gloria Rapalalani, who got married over the weekend.
“This is my first Mothers day on earth without a mother,” Winfrey captioned a sweet video clip of herself surrounded by her former students. “So happy to share with all my daughter girls from South Africa and my niece @chrishaundalee, Celebrating Gloria’s (to my left ) wedding yesterday and Mothers day today! Blessings to all the Mothers.”
According to reports, Winfrey was an honored guest at the intimate Atlanta, Georgia, ceremony, and she even walked Rapalani down the aisle.
Winfrey also previously shared a photo of herself with several of the girls shopping for Rapalani’s wedding dress in Beverly Hills, an occasion that brought about much excitement among the ladies.
“I’ve known these girls since they were 12 and 13 coming to my school,” Winfrey wrote at the time. “Graduating from college. Grad school. Now our first wedding. Looking for the perfect dress. #biglifemoment❣️”
The celebratory event was also the perfect occasion for Winfrey to reunite with some of the women, more than 10 years after they graduated from the South African school.
“The love in this one speaks for itself,” one woman, Thando Dlomo, captioned a sweet photo of the pair embracing. “Happy Mother’s Day to the woman who has cradled my dreams and heart since I was 12; stood firmly in the face of my demons and helped me fight my way through them. The day my mother passed she sat with me on my little twin sized bed and held me until I stopped crying. Thank you for the honor of being your daughter-girl, @oprah.”
Winfrey opened the Leadership Academy in Johannesburg back in 2007, with all 72 of the girls from the first graduating class receiving full college scholarships. As part of her promise, Winfrey told the girls-now-women that she would be present whenever any of them accept their degree.