Wamkelekile (‘Welcome’ in isiXhosa) to one and all!
My name is Iman Martin – ‘Iman’ having both Arabic and African meanings for ‘faith’. Just like my name, I come from a multicultural background: my mom has Indian and Malaysian origins, while my dad is from the Griqua people/clan in South Africa. In the same vein, I am a Muslim and have Christian relatives, with who I am very close. It is because of my diverse background that I feel I was raised to be both tolerant and respectful towards those that are of a different culture, religion, or ethnicity. Cape Town has been the only home I know, and I’ve never ventured far out of it. I do however envision myself travelling to different parts of the world a few years from now. I am passionate about women’s empowerment and women having the choice to choose for themselves!
I have recently graduated from the University of Cape Town, with a Bachelor of Social Work (Psychology Major) and placed on the Dean’s Merit List, awarded for consistent academic achievement. Through hard work and perseverance, I was fortunate to have received a scholarship from the Department of Social Development for three of my four years of study. My mini-thesis explored the experiences and challenges of 1st-year students at UCT adjusting to university. Studying social work has not only allowed me to better understand those around me and their thought processes but also, to better understand myself and the possible reasons why I am the way I am. As part of my course requirements, I had to complete field practicals – by putting the theory that I was learning in class to practice in a real-world environment. My field practice experience ranged along a spectrum: from providing social work services to underprivileged youth in a primary school in Bonteheuwel, to interning in the more affluent area of Upper Wynberg, at an international school. This experience further fostered my innate empathy and non-judgemental outlook for those around me.
I am someone who is not afraid to get my hands dirty, work hard and help out where I can: currently job hunting, I have occasionally been helping my father with renovations to his property that include painting, plastering, applying putty, etc. This has taught me many practical things that I hope to apply when I own my own house one day. A few months before now, I worked as a Personal Assistant to a therapist and social worker. This was a remote job that taught me valuable organisation and time-management skills. In my early years of study, I found myself working a sales assistant job at the Robben Island Museum Gateway store, and found that my favourite part of the job was interacting with the different tourists that happened upon our humble store and hearing their stories – where they were from and why they decided to visit SA, etc.
I love reading, and since a young age, I’ve been considered a bookworm. I mainly enjoy supernatural and sci-fi novels and webcomics, as well as other forms of content such as newspaper and magazine articles (need to know what’s happening in the world around me). English was also my favourite subject at school, and I think this was also encouraged by my English-teacher mother, who was quick to correct any incorrect grammar and pronunciation when my siblings and I spoke incorrectly. I often assisted her in marking her learners’ English examination scripts and as a result, am quick to pick up on spelling or grammatical errors.
In my free time, I enjoy spending time with my family, long walks with my dog Ninja, and photography. This has led me to submit a piece that is currently being exhibited at the Zeits Mocca Art Museum, in their long-running ‘Home is Where The Art Is’ exhibition.
Furthermore, my faith has given me strength through the darkest times and taught me to be tolerant and understanding of those around me. I am still very much figuring life and myself out as I go along and am always open to learning from those around me.