Nobiva is part of the first graduating class of Oprah Winfrey's Leadership Academy in South Africa. Nobiva says she's excited about Oprah being the guest speaker at her graduation.

"We listen when Oprah speaks," she said.

Nobiva, one of hundreds who interviewed for the school, remembers the day she met Oprah.

"It was beautiful, because she stood up and came and embraced me," she said. "Because at this point, it's like 'oh my God.' It's like, 'hi, I am Oprah,' and I said 'hi Oprah.' She's always been such a strong and sensual force in our lives, even throughout the academy."

Nobiva said that the experience at Oprah’s school motivated her to be a change agent. After leaving South Africa, she knew she wanted to continue her education in the United States. She says Oprah told her education helps break the cycle of poverty. 

She told WBTV that at first she fell in love with JCSU's school colors, blue and gold. Then she found out JCSU's president, Dr. Ronald Carter, worked for a college in South Africa. She knew then JCSU was the place for her.

"I chose Smith for the fact it has a very spiritual background," Nobiva said. "I was raised by my grandmother, and I still make every decision under the helm of prayer."

Nobiva's is graduating with honors with a degree in Interdisciplinary Studies with a concentration in Global Outreach, Public Leadership and Strategic Communications. After she leaves JCSU, she will pursue her Masters at High Point University. She received a $60,000 scholarship to continue her education. She says the atmosphere at High Point University will prepare her for her future.

"The furniture, the ambiance is that of a Fortune 500 company," she said, "so that by the time your students engage in these spaces, they are not intimidated. I am that type of thinker. I am proactive and forward thinking."

Nobiva said that when challenges came her way, Oprah helped her and so did her grandmother.

"She continues to be my main inspiration," Nobiva said. "She continues to remind me and speaks life into me and my purpose."

She said her purpose in life is to help create a better world.

"What it's about is bringing about a better South Africa," she said. "And as a result, bring about a better Africa. And the best way to do it is to educate and invest in young women, because as you know - no offense - women keep things running. That's the truth - we keep the oil machines oiled."

Nobiva says her name means success, and she wants to live up to that name and wants others to be successful, too. She gave some advice.

"Find a way to resiliently commit to a purpose larger than themselves," she said, "because it is a distinguishing factor. It counts when you have a conviction in who you are and why you are here, because then more and more people will want to work with you - simply for the fact you are clear on what your purpose here is."

She told WBTV that her life has not been easy, but she says it was worth it.

"You will be presented by challenges no matter where you go," Nobiva said. "What it's really about is what you make of those challenges and how you are able to come out strong, no matter what the challenge is."

Nobiva added that in ten years she wants to own her PR firm and continue to do her part to make the world a better place.

This article was first published by WBTV on 12 May 2016 - please click here to view the original article.