Newsmakers

'Mom Oprah' Always on Call for South African Graduates

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The first class of young women to graduate from Oprah Winfrey’s South African boarding school is now beginning college.

For any dedicated mother, that means shopping for their new dorm rooms. And so that’s what media mogul known to her students as “Mom Oprah” is doing – that and fielding many late night phone calls from the graduates of her school.

"We’re texting all the time," Winfrey told ABC News’s JuJu Chang recently. "I was on the phone last night for an hour with one of them."

Six of the 72 students who began school at Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls five years ago are now attending college in the U.S.

It’s a new role in which Winfrey revels. "Being able to step into the mother role and be a real mother, friend, companion, adviser, comforter to these girls has added another level to my life that really just came as a surprise to me," she said. "I didn’t really know that I would love it so much."

Winfrey, who quit her popular talk show last year, said she is a "person who grew up knowing whatever you have, you have to give that back."

Her decision to found the school came after realizing she had made enough money to be more than comfortable. “There comes a time when you look in your closet and say, "'Enough shoes,'" she said. “Now what can I do that’s going to be of value … to other people?"

A camera crew followed the girls for a recent documentary: "The First Graduating Class: Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls," which recently aired on OWN.

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