The former queen of daytime accepted an honorary degree from the University of the Free State in South Africa on Friday.
According to theChicago Sun Times, Winfrey, 57, came to the school where five years ago, four white students made a video humiliating black housekeeping staff. In the clip, the housekeepers were shown eating a stew the students had mimed spiking with urine.
When Winfrey received her honorary education doctorate Friday, she called the five cleaners to the stage and pronounced them heroes. "What has happened here at Free State in terms of racial reconciliation, of peace, of harmony, of one heart understanding and opening itself to another heart is nothing short of a miracle," she said. "It is truly what the new South Africa is all about."
Winfrey is a frequent visitor of South Africa; in 2007 she opened the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls in Henley on Kilp, south of Johannesburg.