Meet Dr Lindiwe Tsope, the first alumna from Oprah Winfrey’s school to get a PhD
Dr. Lindiwe Tsope matriculated from Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls (OWLAG) in 2012 and was part of the first cohort of pupils to attend the elite school.
Tsope was recently conferred with her Ph.D. in Philosophy from Rhodes University during a virtual graduation ceremony.
The Soweto-born doctoral graduate is the first OWLAG alumnus to reach this level of academic success.
Dr. Tsope says she was 11-years-old when her primary school teacher handpicked her to apply for a spot at OWLAG.
The top achiever says she went through a rigorous selection process and sat across from Oprah for the final interview.
She spent eight years studying at Rhodes University, where she first obtained a BA in Social Science, BA Honours, Masters of Arts, and finally a Doctor of Philosophy.
Tsope tells CapeTalk that her parents have always taught her to appreciate the importance of education.
She says OWLAG helped her spread her wings and continues to empower young girls to thrive beyond the classroom.
Tsope says she'll be putting her academic career aside, for now, to focus on working with an NGO centred around HIV/Aids research and interventions.
Her Ph.D. thesis explored the narrative experiences of people living with HIV at Rhodes University and ignited some important conversations about how the institution can improve its support services.
"I still want to continue this pursuit of contributing to the end of HIV in South Africa and globally", she tells CapeTalk host Sara-Jayne King.
I told her [Oprah] she knows.... When I submitted my paper, she was one of the first people I told. When I got the email from the university... I told her, and before the photos went out of me in my grad gown and pyjamas... she had seen them as well.Dr. Lindiwe Tsope
I'm getting used to it [being called Dr] it feels really good!Dr. Lindiwe Tsope
Knowing that we were under Mam' Oprah's wing was a big deal for every one of us.Dr. Lindiwe Tsope
Mam' Oprah once said that the academy is not a place for people who already have everything, it's a place that takes children with broken wings and helps the children to mend those wings and lets them fly. That's literally what it was like to be there. It was an incredible experience.Dr. Lindiwe Tsope
I come from humble beginnings... My parents were not formally educated. So, education was and still is important to them as a driver for change in one's life.Dr. Lindiwe Tsope
Listen to Dr. Lindiwe Tsope's story on Weekend Breakfast:
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