The University’s political stance to consciously fight against the apartheid regime, as well as its ever growing success stories in the higher education sector and its commitment to community development, have convinced generation after generation in the family to make UWC their institution of choice.
It all started when Achmat Adams enrolled for his Diploma in Education (DE), which he completed in 1986 – the same year he met his wife Zaieda Adams, who completed her BA degree. Mr Adams returned to do his BA in 1989, BEd in 1992 and a Postgraduate Certificate in Education in 2006. Mrs Adams also completed her Higher Diploma in Education (HDE) on campus, and two of their children, Yusri Adams (BCom Law and then LLB in 2014 (Cum Laude) and Insaaf Adams (BCom general in 2016 (Summa Cum Laude) and honours in Industrial Psychology in 2017), also obtained their qualifications here. Their third child, Imraan Adams, is in his first year of study towards an LLB.
Mr Adams’ sister, Soraya Martin, also obtained her Advanced Certificate in Education (ACE) from UWC in 2006, specialising in special needs education (resulting in her becoming a Dean's Merit List awardee), and her two children also studied here. Raushan Martin completed her BA and honours in Linguistics in 2006 and is currently completing her master’s, while Lameez Martin obtained her BSc and honours in Physiotherapy in 2009.
Two children of Mr Adams’ other sister, Yasmina Charles, also graduated from UWC, while a third is still on campus. Tasneem Charles obtained her BEd in 2014 (currently teaching in Qatar), Nuraan Charles graduated with a BA in 2018 and Naeelah Charles is in her second year of study towards a BA degree in geography and environmental studies.
Mr Adams recalls that although their parents and older siblings never studied further, the family valued education very highly and believed in personal growth and development so much that they supported those who went to university. They were raised to care about other people, he said, “so it made a lot of sense to come to a politically conscious institution, and we felt at home here.”
He and his wife participated in the activities against the presence of security police on campus. “I remember that we were chased, sjamboked and shot with tear gas on this campus,” he said. “But those incidents made it worth our while here. Besides education, we also got the opportunity to express defiance against the unfairness that was happening in our country. Those are memories I will never forget.”
His wife agrees. “Every day in the 1980s was eventful, with mass meetings and protests. We were outside of class more than inside classrooms, but we continued studying and sometimes we would prepare for tests that we were not sure would happen.”
Such stories, and the successes of graduating under these circumstances, seems to have spurred generation after generation to look nowhere other than UWC for further education.
“We always heard a lot of interesting stories about UWC,” said Raushan Martin. “And the family often emphasised the role UWC played in their lives, and that has left a great legacy for the family. I was born in 1983, the same year that my uncle started his studies here, and the connection has always been there. Their stories inspired us to choose UWC as the only university for us.”
The family said they have taken many valuable lessons from UWC which are helping them in both their personal and professional lives.