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24 January 2019
UWC is part of the Railoun family
It’s not unusual at UWC for students to follow their sibling’s course of study or even for several siblings to be studying there at the same time. But the Railoun family’s record may be unmatched. There’s been at least one Railoun sibling at UWC for most of the past 20 years.

Youngest brother Yaasien, who works at Virgin Active where he puts his BA Sports Science degree to good use, is the fifth of the nine siblings to graduate at UWC, and the only one to have lived in residence.

Yaasien says he found the freedom and heavy workload difficult at first, but his sister Amiena helped with her intimate knowledge of the ins and outs of campus.

Amiena Railoun, 32, graduated with a BCom Information Systems degree in 2006. She says current students don’t know how good they’ve got it with the computer labs.“Ghadieja used to write code by hand and we would come in early just so she could test it. Now there’s Wi-Fi!”

Ghadieja Railoun, 34, who graduated with a BSc in Computer Science in 2005, adds, “Flash drives only put in an appearance in my final year.”

Their eldest sister, cake decorating wizard Najia Davids, 41, obtained her BSc Occupational Therapy in 1998. She says, “OT taught me to strategically plan everything and I have adopted the same attitude with regards to my work. Planning plays a vital role in the outcome of my cake creations.”

With no siblings on campus when she studied, Davids says she enjoyed the freedom of the campus and made many friends.

All four sisters commuted to campus by train. Ghadieja recalls that Amiena disembarked at Pentech Station on her first day of university travel without a clue as to where to go. Luckily another student recognised her resemblance to Ghadieja and told her what to do.

Ayesha Railoun-Rhoda, 28, who graduated in 2010 with a BCom, laughingly points out that she was often mistaken for Amiena on campus. “Also, my friends could not understand how I could study in the cafeteria. I focused better there than in the library, because I come from a house of more than 12 people.”

Ayesha says that when she was studying she drew heavily on Amiena’s connections to get things done. “I think because we come from such a big family and things weren’t always easy, we learned to have each other’s back.”