December 03, 2018 04:48 PM

Tyler Perry is having a blast in South Africa!

The actor and director headed to the African country to give the commencement address for the 2018 Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy graduating class. While there, Perry, 49, sat down with PEOPLE to discuss Winfrey’s influence on the academy and how it’s an extension of the compassion she’s known for.

“It is 100% the spirit of Oprah, and she is all in it,” Perry says of the academy. “She is in every blade of grass, every piece of paper on the wall. It takes someone like her, who has that level of compassion and that level of heart, to generously do this year after year after year. It’s Oprah. And her name is on it, rightly so, because the spirit of Oprah lives here, for sure.”

Tyler Perry with Oprah Winfrey in 2009
Todd Williamson/WireImage

Perry also gave a little insight into what he talked about during his speech, which he was chosen for by the students.

“I wanted to talk to them about the guilt that comes with being the one that is chosen, the one that is successful,” he said. “But also to understand that when you’re building a career, or building a boat to teach yourself how to fish, it’s very important to build that boat, to have other people join you so you can teach them how to fish as well. But I had no idea coming in how on point it would be for the moment. So I was pretty spooked by that, but still fascinated.”

While in South Africa, Perry also took time to celebrate his son Aman Tyler’s 4th birthday with a special safari trip. The actor later posted a hilarious video from the safari, showing a pride a lions coming way too close to their car.

Perry also served as one of the hosts for the South African Global Citizen Festival, which honored the 100th birthday of civil rights icon Nelson Mandela.

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