We are delighted to introduce Marla Trindade to our Design Team.
Please, could you briefly introduce yourself?
I’m a Portuguese 45 year old (I have no qualms about age!) Professor of Microbiology and a mother of 2 beautiful daughters (aged 12 and 15). I’m the Director of a research institute at the University of the Western Cape, and have the privilege of working side by side with my husband. I think we’re a power couple 😊, and hope that one of our discoveries will win us a nobel prize someday. Ha ha ha. That would be nice, but we’re quite humble, and although we aim to commercialise some of our discoveries, we mostly love to unravel the inner workings of the microscopic organisms that no one can see! I was born in JHB but managed to escape when I was 18 to study at UCT. We now live in the most beautiful city in the world, Cape Town.
Do you have a specific process to get the juices flowing or does it come naturally?
Social media (FB/Pinterest/Instagram) is definitely my go-to place for inspiration, and there are particular artists/card-makers that I follow that always manage to spark my ideas.
If you could change one perception in this world, what would that be?
Having a PhD equates to you being smarter or more intelligent than someone who does not.
What’s your strongest positive childhood memory?
Christmas Eve, 1981. I was 5 years old. We stayed up until midnight to open presents and celebrated this at our house with our close family friends and family. It was a feast from noon until 2am. Warm summer JHB evening so we played and swam while waiting for Santa to come. He knocked on the window and rang a bell at midnight, and when I chased after him I found a shiny red bike in the front yard that I had secretly wished for.
If you were an artwork, which one would it be?
Funnily, I don’t appreciate artwork, I could never understand why people pay so much for a painting that just sits on the wall 😊 I have grown to appreciate the talent that artists have because I cannot draw to save my life, and is why I stamp!
Describe a real-life situation that inspired you?
Her name was Bukhi, a Nigerian MSc student of mine. She lived in a tiny little room near to campus with her 2 small children, away from her husband who had to stay in Nigeria to earn the money. My children were also small at the time therefore I could relate to the difficulties she faced. Yet, I had a husband and family to support me, she had no one. But she was determined to earn the degree so that she could give herself and her children a better life. Her tenacity, dedication and sacrifice was so inspiring. To this day I hold her as a model example of what one can achieve if one is willing to work hard and not let difficult circumstances get in the way of achieving what you want.
What’s your most embarrassing moment?
STD 6, home economics. We had to prepare a salad for one of our assessments and had to provide all the ingredients. The feta cheese spilt in my tog-bag, and by the time I had to catch the bus home, with all the boys from Kind Edward High who were on the same bus route, that cheese could be smelled from a mile away! I was mortified to find my crush, Neil Mckenzie (yes the cricketer!), on the bus, and the 15 minute bus ride to my stop was the longest 5 years of my life..!!
If you were a shoe, what kind of shoe would you be?
Pantoffles! I like comfy and have zero interest (or money) for fashion…every spare cent goes to crafts!!
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
Eat the cake! 😊
What are you doing when you’re not creating? What (other) hobbies do you have?
Shopping for crafts 😊 I enjoy machine embroidery, sewing and making gifts.
What would people be surprised to learn about you?
Most people seem surprised that I am a Professor and lead a modest size and internationally recognised research team. I’m not sure whether it’s because I still look young or if I look/sound dumb… 😊 That I was invited to be part of a design team!
What is your favourite:
Animal: Anything that purrrrrrrs, or the chameleon
Movie: A walk in the clouds
Book: The faraway tree