Vice- Chancellor’s award and Masters Cum Laude recipient: Lerato Madike
Overcoming the adversities of losing her mother while doing her first year is what pushed Lerato Madike to strive for a better future. “There is no magic to achievement, it’s really about hard work, choices and persistence,” these are the words by Michelle Obama that motivated her to raise the bar high.
Born in the small township of Namakgale in the Limpopo province, Lerato faced hardship when her mother passed away and that changed her whole life completely. Forcing her to delay her studies by working part-time to attain enough money to continue with her studies. She managed to graduate for her National Diploma in Biotechnology in 2012. Working for different companies, she decided to quit her jobs and pursue her studies full-time in 2015. She obtained her Bachelor of Technology in Biotechnology in 2016 and immediately enrolled for her Master’s \ which she completed in record time.
In 2016, Madike established a business called Cakes by Lerato. She is able to bake cakes for any event and this talent has blossomed into a great business venture, even helping her pay off some of her fees. She became Miss VUT SCO (Student Christian Organization) 2016/2017 and 2nd Princess Miss South Africa Campus 2017. These roles have assisted her to be a part of charity events and allowed her to be able to give back to the community through donations as well as giving her time to assist where help is needed at the local orphanages.
She is currently registered for her PhD in Biotechnology under the supervision of Prof Michael Pillay with the Prospects of becoming a Doctor.
Her aim is to contribute to the body of knowledge through research. She graduated with a Cum laude for both her BTech and MTech, an achievement for which she owes thanks to God, her supportive family and her Supervisor Prof Michael Pillay. This achievement will also be the first for her family as nobody has reached this level of education.
“As a young black woman in the science and technology field, I have learned that the sky is just the beginning and it doesn’t matter where you come from, if you dream big, work hard and always believe in yourself you can do anything,” she added.