D.I.V.A of the Month – July 2011

D.I.V.A of the Month – July 2011

Murlin Ekard from Cape Town from Cape Town South Africa shows us that you are never too young to dream BIG!

Lelemba:Who is Murlin?
Murlin:  I am just a young lady who loves life.  I work hard at everything I do and I am determined to make a success of every project that I embark on.

Lelemba: Tell us about your journey from high school to varsity, I hear that was interesting?
Murlin: I am such a planner.  I’ve always had my entire future planned out.  After applying to The University of Cape Town to study a Bcom accounting degree, I knew that I wanted to find a scholarship programme that would not only give me funding, but that  would also offer me support and entrepreneurial guidance. I was the deputy head girl of the Settlers High school in 2008 when the Alan Gray Orbis foundation came to do a presentation at our high school about the scholarship programme which they offer.  It had everything that I wanted, and although the application and selection process seemed daunting, I was extremely excited to apply.  After a long application and selection process which included an interview and a camp in Johannesburg, I was chosen as one of approximately 40 people in Cape Town who received the Alan Gray Orbis Foundation scholarship.  Needless to say, this really made my transition to university a smooth one. 

Lelemba: That is awesome! Are you enjoying your studies?
 Murlin: Absolutely, I am one of the few people who were lucky enough to get to university and be completely happy with the degree which I had chosen.  It is extremely challenging and most of my time is devoted to my studies, but I am fully committed to the end goal which is to become a Chartered Accountant.  

Lelemba: I love the certainty. You also run a business can you tell us more about it?
Murlin:  I co-own a printing business called 3Q Printers  cc.  With the scholarship that we  (myself and my partner, Aldrin Boraine) have, we were able to save money for the whole of our first year at university.  In December of 2009 we decided to invest in screen printing equipment and registered our business as a close corporation.  It has been going really well since and we have recently expanded to paper printing.  We have great plans for the business and are always looking for ways in which to expand and improve.

Lelemba: Wow! It appears you are a very multitalented young lady because you also sing and have had some great achievements in that arena too – can you tell us about that?
Murlin: I absolutely love to sing.  I am the Praise and Worship leader at my church, Revival Worship Centre.  In school I was a part of our school jazz band and had the opportunity to sing all over Cape Town.  When I was in my Matric year in High school I was given the opportunity to go to a closed audition where 10 singers would be chosen to sing in a concert with Idols Jody Williams and Brandon October, and Supersterre winner Kobus Muller.   I was chosen as one of those 10 singers and was given the opportunity to record a demo cd.  While being busy with that project I was noticed by singer, songwriter and producer Ike Morris and was given the opportunity to sign a record deal and embark on a singing career. However, this was at the end of my Grade 12 year and I would not have been able to study fulltime at university the following year, had I decided to pursue my singing career.  Needless to say,  I chose my studies after receiving good advice from people in my life whom I trust.  But I still love singing and I love that I get to use my voice in the praise and worship band of my church every Sunday.    

Lelemba: Was the decision to pick varsity over singing hard?
Murlin: It was to an extent, but it was not tragic for me.  I was fully aware of the fact that I could always pursue a singing career at a later stage.  I also really love my studies and was not about to pass on the great opportunity the Alan Gray Orbis Foundation was offering me.

Lelemba: Any other highlights in your life you would like to mention?
Murlin: It is my 21st birthday this month! On the 20 July I turn 21 and I’m very excited about that.   

Lelemba: Well happy birthday in advance and congratulations! 21 is a significant age! What are some of the biggest challenges you have faced and how did you overcome them?
Murlin:  I think with academics, this 3rd year has been a great challenge.  A Bcom accounting degree at UCT is not for the faint hearted and it comes with continuous challenges, but I just stay focused and keep my eyes on the prize.  Being a young entrepreneur has its challenges, as people may not always take you seriously, but we just remained confident and showed the professionalism with which we operate and it has been working for us thus far.

Lelemba: That’s great. Who/what else inspires you?
Murlin:  I am a born again believer in Jesus Christ.  So that is where I get my inspiration and strength from.  I am also generally inspired by people who are able to rise above their circumstances and take control of their own futures by making a success of themselves.

Lelemba: Where to from here? Can you share what some of your dreams or goals are?
Murlin:  Well, for now I’ll just be concentrating on graduating at the end of the year while still running the business.  I’m also busy with some song writing.  My long term goal is to get my CA qualification.  Myself and the band at my church are also very excited about recording a cd in the future.

Lelemba: Thank you very much for sharing your story with us. I am sure it will encourage a lot of people out there.

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