Your name:

Tawana Muratu

Graduation date at Stenden:

I graduated May of 2019 after enrolling at Stenden in 2015 as a half-year (July).

Internship details:

Come December 2017 i was ready to go for my internship and spread my wings in the “real world.” I was determined to intern in a Revenue Management position and after some hard-work from Mr.Steyn and myself I was accepted at Ritz-Carlton in the UAE. In addition, I was looking for a 1 year internship and I was fortunate to be granted this as well.

What you have been doing and where, since you started your Internship in Revenue Management?

After what i would deem as a successful internship i had to make my hardest career choice to date. I was being offered to stay in a full time role at the Ritz-Carlton however I chose to turn it down and pursue another offer. I was very fortunate to have these options but I promise hard work and determination brings the opportunities. I left Ritz-Carlton and have worked with Mews and Atomize respectively.
I truly believe in Hotel Technology and it really is the present and the future. I am currently the Sales Manager for Atomize in the African, Australian and New Zealand region.

What you are doing now and the entire journey of getting there?

I am currently the Sales Manager for Atomize in the African, Australian and New Zealand region.  Everyone’s journey is different and tailor made  – mine is certainly far from over.

I have had some ups and downs combined with some mistakes but keeping a level head is key. From the moment you enrol at Stenden till you fill out your internship applications it’s important to think things through. Stenden is a tight knit University, use that to your advantage. Consult the academic team, connect with the industry and research.

Remember to have fun through it all. The journey is supposed to be exciting as well, don’t wear yourself out – the hotel industry is tough enough already.

Any other details?

As 3rd years you are applying for internships and considering your options. Your internship is a KEY part of your journey and you need to treat it as such. By now a majority of you have made up their minds about what department or sector of the industry they’re interested in. Do your best to pick an internship that suits that.

Don’t get me wrong your internship does not define you however it could have an impact on your long-term future.

If you are still not sure what you want to do – take some time to yourself and think about it. Ask yourself what’s my 5 year plan.

My other recommendation – When you are working on your dissertation, pick a subject/topic that interests you and that will build your craft as well.

You will be working and will have to make time for your research project so make sure it motivates you to do it.

Student Testimonial Letter:

Dear All,

I trust my email finds you well.

You know, when Covid-19 hit, I never saw it as a threat, at least to my life.  I was living a cushioned life in the USA (especially having come from Zimbabwe), enjoying my internship and naïve to the idea that this virus could negatively impact my lifestyle.  It was then harder to accept reality when the internship was abruptly terminated which made me angry and clueless as to what my future held.

Now, with the help of my uncle and his wife, it brings me joy to see the progress I’ve made in these last few months.  They helped me let go and move with the change.  I began to see this change not as my enemy but as a blessing in disguise and began to work long and hard, looking at different universities and applying to different graduate programs.  I am pleased to let you know that I have been accepted into the University of Denver, #2 top University in Colorado, USA.  I will be studying a Master of Science in Nonprofit Leadership with a concentration in Executive Leadership and Governance.

However, before I embark on this journey, I wanted to give due diligence to the people who saw the best in me and truly have outdone themselves in unleashing my potential as a young professional.

My Stenden journey started with Ronel, Lindy, Sandisiwe and Zuko.  Ronel, thank you for the time and effort you put into telling me about school when we met in Zimbabwe.  I am grateful for Zuko and Sandisiwe who were the ones who hosted my mum and I when we came for the “open-day” tour.  It may have just been a couple of hours, but I loved every minute of it.

To Tracy, Karen, and Megan, the impact you made upon my life was profound and possibly the reason why I pursued all of the ventures I did whilst being at Stenden.

Megan, I remember asking for your advice on how I could qualify for the Young Hotelier Summit as well as graduate with a Cum Laude.  The words you said to me that day I’ve held dear to my heart, so thank you.  Also, I appreciate the platform you gave to me to tutor some of my peers.  To me, the definition of serving people includes the ability to transfer the knowledge you have into others and help them excel in what they are striving for.  Giving them the chance to see that they can succeed after all.

To Clare, Yathika, Kevin, Nelisa, and Mr T, you all inspired me to continue pushing even in the midst of hardship.  Clare, I remember looking forward to all the Online Revenue and Statistics classes because the way you taught only further solidified my love for working with numbers.  Nelisa, you are by far the most “straight-forward, no-sugar coating” lecturer I ever had and I appreciate that about you.  To Mr. T, you’re the best!!!  My goal to graduate Cum Laude wouldn’t have been possible without you.  To Mr. Steyn, I loved our discussions.  May you continue to be such an inspiration, the one who opens doors of opportunity to students and believes that they can do it.

To Debbie, you are an amazing, prayerful woman.  I thank you for having started the Tuesday Bible Study and continuing it, even when it wasn’t easy.  The impact that that meeting made upon our lives as students, all facing our own challenges, was so powerful and life-changing.  May you continue on the path of serving others through the Bible Study.

Lastly, to Dr. Hensens – a sure leader behind these wonderful people.  Your undeniable presence at Stenden has given students the chance to pursue a wide array of opportunities that I believe no other university possesses.  I am convinced that if it wasn’t for all the hard work that you and your team put into ensuring that we the students truly reach our potential; we would never realize that we can achieve greatness!  I am forever grateful for all that you have done for me, for you have all played a vital role in the journey that has gotten me here.

Now, taking into consideration everything that is happening in our world, especially with Covid-19 that has unmasked the flaws in our society with regards to economics, racial inequality, political injustice, and so much more, I am inspired to live a life that makes a greater contribution to humanity.  I want to serve a cause larger than my own and continue to be the servant leader that sees the best in people and liberates them to truly excel. I know it will not be easy but I am willing to take this adventure by the horns.  You have all inspired me enormously, instilled into me qualities of an outstanding leader, so I have great faith that I can make a mark on this earth.  I owe you much gratitude for that; thank you from the bottom of my heart.  I do look forward to meeting and working with you all in the future.

Yours sincerely,

Vongai Noria Chokuda