VAAL, SOUTH AFRICA – I’m Duduzile Nhlapho, and want to share my journey and inspire parents, to inspire their children. It all began one afternoon when I arrived home back from primary school. My mother was watching The Oprah Winfrey Show and it was the episode where the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls was officially opened.
Being Oprah Winfrey’s Girl
I was so stunned and intrigued by the academy and I made a decision that I will one day wear that uniform, I will one day become a learner at the academy. Whilst I was still having my “aha” moment, my dad, who was then a teacher, walked in.
I remember telling him that I want to be a student at the academy. Like a proud father that he is, he said to me “I will try my best to make it happen my baby”.
By God’s grace, applications came through to my school and after a rigorous and intense application process, including interviews, I was chosen to become a part of the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls graduating class of 2014. So basically my dad did make it happen, through prayer.
Being a student at OWLAG meant that you were top of the class at your previous school. It meant that you were not only intelligent, but you also embodied and carried leadership abilities – something I didn’t think I had.
Arriving at the academy opened a new chapter in my life. A chapter of forming new relationships, networking, learning, finding myself, but most importantly, a chapter of dreaming and realizing that my dreams are valid.
Encourage #GirlChild to believe in herself
You see the art of believing in yourself starts with realizing that you were created for a reason. No one else can fulfill this reason or purpose, only you. This purpose is the sole reason you are alive, it is the very reason that will carry your legacy once you have passed on. And this purpose can only be found through being still – doing an introspection about your life.
I will forever be grateful towards one of my res mothers for introducing me to the word “introspection”. I remember her saying to us one evening; “Girls, you have to do an introspection about your life. Doing an introspection will help you find yourself. Be still and listen to your inner voice”.
Mom Oprah then introduced us to a book titled Stillness Speaks by Eckhart Tolle which helps you find your inner stillness, which essentially is you. This inner stillness is essentially peace in itself. It is through knowing yourself that you can believe in yourself.
I am a young black woman that has dreams out of this world. Dreams I know can and will become reality. I am currently writing my own book about finding myself, having dreams and fighting depression. Also, I want to own an amusement park. That’s not all, I want to start an educational foundation whereby I assist those in university that couldn’t acquire funding.
I know that these dreams will become a reality because I was taught the power of believing in myself.
So this #InternationalGirlChild month, I encourage you to believe in yourself. Actually, I dare you to find your inner stillness and then start believing in yourself. Thereafter, dream. That’s it, simply dream. Dream beyond the boundaries of your current situation. Dream beyond your wildest imagination. Dream beyond the negative external noise you will hear from people around you. Dream beyond the color of your skin. And then after dreaming, prove those that did not believe in you wrong. _ Moms and dads, please tell this to your #GirlChild and boy child.
I am currently finishing off my in-service training at Masia Sound Production. A black owned events management company.
You have so much potential young girl. In a systematic world of patriarchal beliefs, a world whereby black women and girls are murdered everyday. Break those boundaries because you have the potential of making your dreams a reality.
There is nothing as powerful as being a black woman in this century. We have the power to write history because the system and patriarchy does not allow.
So remember, find your inner stillness, believe in yourself, make your dreams a reality and write history.
I’ve already started, will you be joining me?