The mom & daughter duo
STELLA BUTHELEZI, 47, is managing director of Masawu Investments. She lives in Dainfern with her husband and four kids. Her eldest daughter, Lelethu, 27, is studying educational psychology and works at Crawford Pre-primary.
“I was never a ‘coochy-coo’ mom. I worked while my kids were growing up so that I could give them the best of everything. From the word go, Lelethu has been a confident, stubborn, feisty little girl who wasn’t afraid to speak her mind. Nothing has changed and I laugh thinking about how similar she is to me. I wasn’t a nervous first-time mom, but I read all the parenting books and wanted everything to be just so. Suffice it to say, Lelethu had her own ideas and my rule book quickly went out the window!
We had our arguments when she was a teen, fighting about how late she stayed out, and why using a hair straightener was out of bounds. I had to learn to let her make her own decisions, no matter what I thought was best. That sentiment was most true when she matriculated. Education is paramount for me, so I enrolled her at a top university in Australia. After three years, she still wasn’t sure of her path, so she went to work in London for a year before coming home and joining the family business – something I pushed for. After a few months at Masawu, she told me it wasn’t for her; she wanted to be an educational psychologist. At last, I let go of the reins and she’s found her place as a teacher’s assistant. It takes a lot to admit you don’t always know what’s best for your kids.
I love having Lelethu at home again – she’s my right-hand woman. I was in a car accident recently and she stepped in to fetch her siblings from school, cook dinner and manage the house without me saying a word. When it’s just the two of us, we’ll watch girly romcoms with popcorn at hand. On our latest girls’ night, we gave Fifty Shades Darker a try. 38 woman & home A BRAND NEW ATTITUDE When my youngest son walked into the room, he was shocked, asking, ‘What is
this, Mom?’ Lelethu and I could barely stifle our giggles!” See masawu.co.za
“My relationship with my mom has come full circle. We clashed when I was growing up, then I left home to be independent, now I see her every day. She’s my sounding board for varsity essays and my confidant for relationship advice. I just appreciate her on another level now. Of course, we’ve had our ups and downs – which moms and daughters haven’t? – but she is always there for me. She even dropped everything to come with me when I moved to Australia to help me settle in.
We love being in the kitchen – she cooks and I bake – and often enjoy spontaneous PJS evenings, staying up until midnight chatting about politics, health, sex or work. As we’re getting older, we’re becoming closer.” w&h
‘My daughter isn’t afraid to speak her mind – something she gets from me’