Half a million followers on TikTok and studying towards a master’s

26 March 2024 | Story Lisa Templeton. Photo Robyn Walker. Read time 7 min.
Lesedi Lale
Lesedi Lale

It’s Monday and on screen the pupils of Geleza Ujabule High School are raising laughs in their distinct plastic yellow ties, as main character, former private school boy, Lesedi, in his fancy fabric tie, goes through the rigours of adjusting to life in public school after his parents’ fall from financial grace. It’s a sitcom people wait for every week, and it’s only one of the productions delivered on TikTok that have earned UCT graduate and master’s student Lesedi Rampou Lale 565 000 followers and counting. He is graduating on 26 March with a BSc (Hons) in Chemistry.

And no, it’s not autobiographic, but he does play every character in his multiple content creations, including the ever popular Cutting Edge, which looks at Kasi family dynamics and how Kasi parents react to the antics of their kids– turning something intended as a joke into a lecture with a life lesson.

Finding a balance between content and chemistry

So how does a chemistry student with a BSc in Human Anatomy & Physiology and Chemistry, and an honours in chemistry, both from UCT, get to be a beloved content creator with a huge following, and how does one balance that with the rigours of a master’s in chemistry?

“It’s a question I ask myself: How long can I balance this?” Lesedi said. “I love both worlds – academia and entertainment. It takes a lot of preparation and scheduling.

“I’ll keep both going as long as I can, but there may come a day when I have to choose.”

He said the biggest challenge was the fight to finish his undergraduate degree while juggling a burning desire to produce.

“But when it comes to the crunch, I choose school.”

As for a social life, it’s tricky, but he tries to schedule time with friends twice a month.

We sat in a courtyard on the back end of the PD Hahn building, home to chemistry. Before we met, he was described to me as being from the world of science, but “with such a humanities vibe when you look at his videos”.

Having watched his content, with the chaotic schoolboys, the lone schoolgirl, the teacher we only ever hear, the noisy gogos and Kasi guys, all written and performed by Lesedi, before being produced by him, this is true. But when you meet him, you meet the professional.

He arrived with a notebook of points he wanted to hit, and as he sat, he talked of production schedules, saving for professional level phones with great cameras, mics for optimal sound and presenting gigs, and site lists for shooting onsite when he goes home to Soweto.

And he clearly loves chemistry. He has his sights on a PhD next.

How was @creatorlesedi born?

Born and bred in Soweto, it was while at Mafori Mphahlele High School, where he excelled in mathematics, physical sciences and life sciences and played soccer full time, that he found his voice.

In Grade 9, he hosted his own award ceremony for things like “Walk of the Year”. “It was funny,” he said with a grin. But it was while reading literature in class in his home language, Sesotho, that his teachers discovered his voice could take on the varying accents and rhythms of the characters they were reading about.

“Reading a book is simple, but having to create the characters is a different way to engage,” he said. His teacher suggested a trip to Lesedi FM in Bloemfontein. “She didn’t want me to throw away that talent.”


“By the time I started TikTok, I already had a burning desire to produce content and I knew exactly what type of content I wanted to create.”

Instead, he landed up on UCT Radio with a breakfast show in his third year.

“By the time I started TikTok, I already had a burning desire to produce content and I knew exactly what type of content I wanted to create – my passion is skits for township entertainment.”

On 21 December 2022, he launched @creatorlesedi.

“It didn’t matter to me how large the audience,” he explained. “I was professional from the start. I set a schedule and I delivered.”

Challenges at UCT

His first year was rocky, he said. He arrived fresh from Soweto in the pre-COVID February of 2020.

“My experience of going into lectures was tough in terms of adjusting. Lectures are very different to lessons in high school. While I was used to English, I was not used to the (different) accents, or the speed.”

As someone who “anticipates a problem and deals with it before it becomes big”, he would consult with fellow classmates and drew comfort that so many felt the same.

The adjustment to the silence of life in a suburban residence was also tough.

“I would find myself feeling lonely at times. It’s quiet and far from a township. To feel better, I’d listen to the music of home, engage with students from townships and watch TV shows. That made me feel at home. Oh, and I’d listen to Lesedi FM, and the room would immediately feel familiar.”

In fact, the pandemic proved a boon when he headed home – work online gave him time to adjust academically.

What he loves about UCT

“I love the fact that we really study here,” he smiles. “I remember in my first few weeks, seeing the library full of people studying – I really, really admire that.”

But it’s more than that. It is that people are kind.

“Everyone is willing to help. I have never felt like I am drowning alone. It’s another thing I admire.”

And it’s rubbed off on him If someone looks like they’re in trouble, he can’t keep quiet, he said.

What next?

“Now that I have matured, I write a lot of productions and plan new series and creative videos. When I started out, I was free-styling, trying to find my feet. But I am learning a lot. Not a day goes by without me watching interviews on what others are doing and how they balance time.”

And as for his namesake, Lesedi of Geleza Ujabule High School, watch this space. He is coming into his own!

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