Refilwe Masela – A Tale of Victory


We recently caught up Refilwe Masela, born and bred in Qwaqwa Phuthaditjhaba. She battled with depression and advises that it can be overcome if attended to. We were fascinated by her mantra: never let someone else’s opinion of you determine who you are. Read her inspiring story of victory below.

I am the middle child with two sisters. As a child, I was always drawn to being involved in making a change. From as little as entertaining others and myself to community service. My mother had taught me to have a giving heart and I’m glad I grew up with it.

I attended High School at the Beacon Secondary School where I was interactive and relatively outspoken. Towards my senior years, I was involved in all things except sports. I took delight in poetry, choir, dancing, pageants, modelling and more. My school days were indeed a real experimental phase in my life and the ultimate highlight of my journey.



I was a very emotional child and often times, a victim of bullying. I was very insecure about how I looked (being taller than my peers and skinny) and also thought very little of myself in general. The only two ways I could express myself was through crying and writing.

A very dark time in my life was also in my 2nd year of tertiary when I could not carry on studying at the University of the Freestate (UOFS) due to a financial constraint. Those three months were the longest, I was in despair. I was sure that was the end of the journey for me.

At some point, my emotions used to rule my life which got worse boarding to depression and anxiety attacks. I was booked for counselling by my employer and it helped me in better dealing with how I feel by being aware that I am feeling a certain way and understanding why. This was a huge breakthrough for me as my counsellor was also very religious and she guided me to find peace in God. Awareness of depression and other disorders should be spoken of; it can be overcome. I am a testament to that.

It got way worse before it got better and fortunately, in my late twenties it all got together by the Grace of God.



Today I am an Assistant branch manager (ABM), at Capitec bank. I am a mediator between management and service consultants. I wake up intentionally six days a week to ensure that the branch can efficiently function and that we offer a great service.


In this particular order.

– I am proud of being a wife to Snenhlanhla Masela. It is not an accomplishment however it is the biggest life altering decision we made and we have seen each other grow through the years.

– My little light (daughter) Khanya Masela. Being a mother gave me perspective.

– Getting my Certificate in Banking.

– Getting promoted from Service Consultant to Assistant Branch Manager.

Factors to keep in mind

– The world doesn’t owe you anything, get up and go get it.

– There is nothing as painful as realising time wasted, start now. Don’t procrastinate.

– Never let someone’s opinion of you determine who you are.

– Family is everything.

– God is life.


Future Plans

My procrastination spell has worn off and I have finally let go of blaming the world for life not going my way so I have enrolled myself with UNISA to study Accounting Science. In three years, I will be a graduate aspiring for greater things.

I would also like to pursue my dream of being a writer. Equipping myself with the required skills to fulfil this passion is also in my plans.

If there was anything you could do differently, what would it be?

I would not wait seven years before applying for an advancement in my career. I did not see at the time that I was stagnant. By the time I opened my eyes I was so desperate for change. I wish I had progressed much earlier.


I look up to my Mother, she is all the woman I want to be. She is intelligent, beautiful, kind and generous. I thank God for that woman.

Facebook: Refilwe Masela
Instagram: @fifilwee

Thank you for sharing your inspirational story with our community, Refilwe. We wish you all the best in everything you do.

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