Pirates on Friday confirmed coach Milutin Sredojevic has promoted the 16-year-old to the senior team.
The Vaal-born starlet is eager to follow in the footsteps of Lekoelea, who made his Bucs debut at 16 and scored 35 goals in 146 games for the Soweto giants.
"Yes, Steve Lekoelea is coming from my hood. We from the same kasi," Mahlonoko tells KickOff.com.
"It feels great to follow in his footsteps. He made his name at Pirates and I also want to achieve great things with the club.
"Like any human being he had his own mistakes but I want to do good things and be a good player, both on and off the field.
"I feel proud to be in the same team with the same players that I used to watch on TV. This is a huge inspiration.
"My first step is to work hard for game-time. Most of the players when they get promoted struggle with game-time and this drops their confidence. So my aim is to get game-time and play as many games as I can."
Pirates' head of development Augusto Palacios adds of the player: "He has good technique. He can create and score goals."