Tenacious – A Story of Lerato Buthelezi


This week our team caught up with Lerato Buthelezi, who believes everything that happened in her life prepared her to be the woman she is today.  Read her inspiring story below.

I am a born again Christian born and bred in the beautiful province surrounded by mountains called Free state “Qwa Qwa’’. Born on the 18 of June 1989 to a large household consisting of my two sisters, mother, uncle, grandparents and 15 cousins that went to church occasionally. And all of us were dependent on my grandmother’s general worker’s salary and my mother’s unstable salary.

Life was never a smooth road growing up but like any person whom the spirit of the lord is upon, I turned out perfectly well. I attended school at Tataisong Pre- Primary school for my infancy level and I then went to Qwa-Qwa school for my intermediate phase where I did my Grade 2 to Grade 9. I did my Grade 10 at Bluegumbosch secondary school for only a year where I chose commercial subjects, I then went to Makabelene Technical and Commercial high school where I completed my matric with a merit in 2006.

I obtained quite numerous awards at school especially in high school. I was one of the best learners for the following subjects: Economics, business economics, accountancy as well as both languages “Sesotho and English”. I was also part of the debating team at school and I represented my schools well in different competitions regarding debating. I’ve always been very withdrawn growing up, the only thing that made me to shine was the wisdom or intelligence as people would refer it to. I was never really a sporty person growing up, but I used to play chess in my spare time because I spent most of my time at the library engaging with the multi-racial school’s learners who loved going to the library to read and it is because of my engagement with them that I’m this fluent.

Looking back now I see only the Grace of God that has always been sufficient for me, attending a public school was never a barrier for me to want to get vast knowledge of education.


Growing Up

Growing up in a big family is never easy especially when all of us were dependent on one constant salary that was not even enough for us all. I have endured going to school without a lunch box or pocket money but that was is turn advantageous because it birthed in me the hunger to succeed. I’m one individual who knows the importance of saving and sharing because growing up was never a greener pasture as we had to share from text book, clothes and uniform. But my big family had its advantages and disadvantages of which I wouldn’t trade for anything in this world. I am truly humbled by the grace of God that saw me through.


It is the “not getting/ not having” that birthed the fruit of the spirit of patience in me, I learned that things cannot happen instantly in this life time, the only thing to do while waiting for your dreams to come true is to work hard and keep the faith all the time. Another thing about not having that birthed in me was kindness I learned that if you are kind to the world then world will be kind to you, this in turn will develop the love in you as an individual. I personally regard all my challenges as a “PUSH” towards the person I have become and still to be. It is indeed true that “God will use the foolish things of this world to confound the wise”.

Another hardship that I experienced while growing up is that I lost my parents at a very young age while in primary school. The death of my mother was the most painful experience that I endured in my life and the scars are still not completely healed. The only thing that sustains me is the relationship I have with Christ now.



 I work as a Creditors Clerk for Thabo Mofutsanyana District municipality, I started as an experiential trainee on the year 2013 on a 18 months contract in order to obtain my financial management diploma. On 2015 I got an extension for six months with an increased salary which was the result of my hard work and willingness’ to know more about finance and municipality. And I regard it as an accomplishment on itself: The extension to me is a promotion it birthed something in me, it showed me that I should work harder than I was when I arrived.

My main objective was not to only get a diploma but a permanent job where I would excel and show my fellow brothers and sisters from the same background as me that it is possible to get a job without jeopardising your integrity. By the grace and strength of God I learned from budget office, to expenditure, to payroll, to supply chain and financial operations. My expertise supersedes my knowledge I learned even the things that I didn’t study at the college and that for me is education taking its course. My hard work created me a permanent post that was not even in the municipal structure that itself is also a history in the making.

My willingness to learn new things is the first thing I love about myself because it has birthed my spiritual fruits, not only to learn but also to invent new things, I love solving mysteries. I love the patience that I show when tackling new opportunities, the love that grows in me and the faith that is inside me. My FAITH in the lord has boosted my self-esteem and confidence, it has taught me that if nothing is impossible with GOD then because we are made in his image, nothing will ever be impossible for us.


The challenges which I have faced include among others peer pressure. As we grow up we meet different people, from different backgrounds with a different outlook on life, and that somehow impacts us both positively and negatively. There are certain things that I did as a university student that somehow how contributed to me failing my major course, and resulted in me not being granted a NSFAS loan. Freedom kind of got into my head and I started partying and one of my lame reasons were at least I am intelligent, a fast learner and I do not drink I only go there to dance and meet up with different people. I guess I felt the need to be popular and the right way at that time was through attending different parties and going to night clubs. And guess what? That really knocked me down because at the end of the year I had failed my major courses and I had no other choice but to drop out and go back home.

Having to stay at home left with only a year courses really shuttered me, I had no one to talk to, I was ashamed and demotivated at the same time, but I thank God because he saw me through even though I was to be blamed for wasting my time by partying excessively. In 2010 I took the initiative to apply for a bursary and go back to school because something in me knew that without education I am not anything. I remember waking up taking all my results and study records to knock at different government departments asking for a bursary, I couldn’t take being at home doing nothing anymore. And I thank God that I got the bursary and I went to an FET College to enroll for Financial Management Diploma in 2011. I studied so hard this time because I wanted to get a solid qualification and gracious God I passed with 70% upwards in all my subjects from first year to my year of completion. Hard work and determination really work!



The highlights would be obtaining my diploma in financial management at a record time, life has knocked me down but I am proud of myself for not giving up on my dreams to be better, for not letting my background determine my worth and what I can be in life. I proud of my the person I am today, it is all because of the things that I experienced since birth that I am a woman of this character, my favourite scripture says: “All things work together for those who love Christ, who are called according to his purpose” so I am proud to see the manifestation of God in my life.

I am part and parcel of the clean Audit 2014/15 team at Thabo Mofutsanyane district municipality, the first municipality in the Free state to obtain clean Audit. I am proud of this Audit outcome because I know the strength and hard work we put individually and collectively as a team. I somehow believe that my presence at the municipality really made a huge difference and I will forever highlight it as an achievement.

The birth of my son Katleho Blessings Buthelezi is the greatest blessing ever in my life. I thank God for trusting me with a soul, that on its own pushes me to ensure that everything I do in this life inspires him to want to be like me or even more. Having a child bought me closer to God and it has also strengthened my relationship with Christ. It inspires me every day to be a role model I want my son to look up to when he grows up. I want him to know that education and faith do make one successful.

Last words

Keep a humble attitude no matter how successful you are, being humble all the time is the first most powerful factor to have in order to make it in life. Believe in yourself and wake up and go after your dreams. The road to success is never a smooth road, it gets hard and lonely, sometimes you feel like it’s not worth it. But hang in there and never ever compromise yourself no matter what! Love is another important factor to keep in mind in life as well as in careers, love plays a vital role in humans, if one loves what they are doing automatically they succeed.

Trust GOD and rely on each and every word he has said upon your life. Jeremiah 29:11-13 says “for I know the thoughts that I think towards you, said the lord. The thoughts of good not disaster, to give you a future and hope. and you shall call upon me and pray unto me, and I will hear you. And you shall seek me and you will find me when you seek me with all of your heart.”

Lastly you are who you hang with. Spend most of your time with successful, positive people and dreamers. They are people you need to positively inspire you!

Email: leratokatleho@outlook.com
Facebook: Lerato velerie lee queen Buthelezi
Instagram: Leratovelerielee

Thank you for sharing your inspirational story with our community, Lerato . You epitomise true strength and tenacity. Best of luck with all of your future endeavours.

If you would also like to see your inspirational story published in our blog, email it to: info@educationambassadors.org.za 

About author

Education Ambassadors SA

We’re an organisation and an online platform aimed at creating education awareness. We are passionate about people, education, entrepreneurship and also offer career opportunities. The platform was founded in 2012 by Dimakatso Lukhele. Contact us today: info@educationambassadors.org.za

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