A friend, a mentor, a motivator and a leader in our community, Lerato Matsolo a young and ambitious young lady, at the age of 24, went to Lehlohonolo Primary School and finished her matric at Fezeka Senior Secondary School, she obtain her Diploma in Quantity Surveying at Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT) and is currently doing her BTech degree in Construction Management through CPUT. She is now currently working at NMC Construction Group as a Construction Manager. This young lady is born and bred from the dusty streets of Guguletu, along with her three siblings, an aunt and her maternal grandmother. Understanding the township lifestyle coupled with a disadvantaged back ground having to face many challenges such as peer pressure, immense crime rate and drug abuse and many disadvantaging challenging that come with such an environment.
To her, education was not an option but rather a tool to emancipate and eradicate the shackles of poverty. We all have problems and we want to be successful in our life’s but everything comes with patience and education is the key, all in all she strived to do her outmost best to study and had the opportunity of obtaining a bursary from a Grade 12 project - Go for Gold programme from Fezeka High School through her hard work.
Lerato is a mentor that beliefs in the pay it forward principle that when you help someone and open a door for their future they will be able to do the same for someone else and soon a ripple effect will occur creating a culture of giving back for a better world. With a passion for lecturing she is currently helping students from different schools with maths classes and skills out of goodwill.
However now she is struggling as the groups are becoming bigger regarding resources and facilities. She fights for a brighter future for these children and she brings hope to the hopeless youth. As growing up teenagers we all have dreams and making those dreams depends on our present moments. Recently she organised an event in Guguletu that I had the pleasure to attend, for the youth regarding how to obtain bursaries, to me the expo was more about bursaries, because in one of the topics I realise that most of the township youth are not sure what career paths to follow, meaning it had everything to do with career exhibitions as well, with the help of motivational speakers sharing information about their success, careers and obtaining the correct information about bursaries. The entire event was a success and the major goal was achieved.
Lerato has a vision in life, there is a saying kwa Xhosa “vuka uzenzele” (wake up and do it yourself), she does wonderful things, she is indeed an inspiration in our life’s and we need more people like her in this nation.
We need leaders like Lerato that reinvest her time, knowledge and skill back into her community supporting the upliftment of our youth. A leader that is not selfish in keeping her personal growth to herself but rather utilise what she knows, embracing her background for the positive while wanting the best for others.
Let us support these leaders who invest in the cause to develop more successful youngsters who can also give back in terms of mentoring our society. Some kids just need the support and motivation, just a word of encouragement to say “I believe in you, you can go far and do it!”
It all forms part of the journey to uplift a more successful community that strives for unity having one spirit of harmony.
I sincerely hope that this article will awaken some leaders to do the same as Lerato.