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In a world plagued by fame-hungry celebrities who will do anything to remain relevant, it is refreshing to bump into the occasional saint. The person who does things not for praise or to trend on Twitter, but to help her fellow citizens who happen to be in need.
Lerato Mvelase (pictured) is one such celebrity. With e.tv beaming the eighth season of Kaelo Stories Of Hope, a docu-series that looks at helping disadvantaged people, she is in the right place as the programme’s new presenter.
“I was attracted by the passion it has for helping people,” said Mvelase.
“I help out my own community in the little ways that I can so this show is right up my alley,” the presenter explained.
Before she joined Kaelo: Stories Of Hope and now as a young actress who has some influence, Mvelase uses her status to change people’s lives .
“I have a few things I do to help those around me to the best of my abilities. I have been helping two families with clothes and other small things. I partnered with BP to supply one family with bread and eggs for a year. I have registered a young boy at school and we are waiting to hear what the university we applied to will say,” she said.
For her it is good and well to give food, clothes or shelter, but the most crucial thing one can give is access to education.
“I adopted my niece who I am taking to school and I always preach to her how important her education is. She even jokes about how obsessed I am about education, but my take is that you have a better fighting chance if you learnt something in school. You can give food for a day, then what?” she said.
That said, it becomes obvious why the folk at Kaelo: Stories Of Hope found her to be the perfect choice as the new host of the show.
The show travels with the viewer across the South African landscape looking for specific ways to use corporate social investments to uplift less privileged communities.
“Once you are an actress people box you into that role. This show will help people know the Lerato you can sit with and talk to across a table. You will see the things that I am passionate about outside acting,” she explained.
With countless reality series coming out every day that are based on lies, it is refreshing to have a show like this where we actually see the reality of poverty in South Africa.
“I wish I could take the so-called reality TV stars on one of our episodes so that they can see how the world is like outside their posh lives. It is sad that they can get airtime over bragging about their lavish lives when there are people out here who are barely making ends meet,” she said.
“So far, the most memorable episode for me is when we found a young rural orphan girl who only has a slightly older brother to take care of her. Their parents died of HIV and they have no one. The brother has stopped going to school so he can take care of her. The mayor of the area drives about in a Range Rover and I don’t get how that works. I cried so hard when I digested all this information.
“This is South Africa’s reality. You start thinking about that R100 you spend for a single drink at a club and how far it would’ve gone in the less privileged lives.”
• Kaelo: Stories of Hope airs every Tuesday at 6.30pm on e.tv.