A chief harbour master who started as a taxi driver in Mamelodi, Pretoria, graduated with a postgraduate diploma in maritime studies at the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) on Friday — and now he's reading for an MCom in leadership studies.
Rufus Lekala, head of the maritime service for the Transnet National Port Authority, started his career in the maritime sector at the then Cape Technikon in 1995 when he received a Transnet bursary to pursue a diploma in maritime studies. At the time he had been working as a taxi driver in Mamelodi for five years.
“I was in desperate need of a career that would take my family and me out of poverty. Fortunately, the maritime sector presented itself as a home that I will never trade for anything,” he said.
Born in a small village called Kutupu in Limpopo, Lekala is married with three children and is proud of his achievements.
“I feel really proud of myself, but more importantly, I’m grateful for the support and encouragement of my family,” Lekala said.
He has since made his mark in various positions, starting out at Transnet as tug master in the Port of Cape Town, and going on to serve as a marine pilot in the Port of Saldanha Bay.