Special matric awards: One survived a bullet to head, the other played dead to survive
Scottsdene twins Yusuf and Yaqoob Arrison, along with Atlantis matriculant Ridah Kahn, who had to write his final exams at the police station to avoid gangsters who wanted to recruit him, bagged special awards at the 2019 provincial National Senior Certificate Awards yesterday.
The awards, hosted at Premier Alan Winde’s official residence, Leeuwenhof, celebrated pupils who did well in their matric exams last year.
The Arrison twins lost their mother to suicide in 2017. Before she took her own life, she allegedly tried to take that of her boys as well.
She shot the then 14-year-old Yusuf in the head, while Yaqoob’s hand was wounded. Their brother Wasseem was killed.
Yaqoob, who pretended to be dead, carried his twin on his shoulders to a family friend’s house about 100m away.
Two years after the traumatic experience, the twins helped each other to pass with bachelor passes.
Yaqoob bagged two distinctions, one in Afrikaans and the other in information technology.
Yusuf said: “I really appreciate my brother because he helped me a lot. What happened affected my sight, and he would read me notes and we studied together.”
He said that he was proud of the marks he received and looked forward to studying Psychology at UCT.
Yaqoob said he was happy to share the moment with his brother.
“It wasn’t much of a challenge for me to help him. Even though he did Geography and I did IT, he is my brother and I wanted him to do well,” Yaqoob said.
He said that he enjoyed making music and would study in the field of the performing arts.
Kahn, from Proteus Technical High School in Atlantis, shared the special ministerial award with the twins. He suffered repeated physical attacks by violent gangs during his matric year because he did not want to join them.
On his way home from one of his June examinations, he was beaten with a brick and left unconscious.
In the third term, the same gang attacked him again and also inflicted severe injuries on his friend.
Because of threats to his safety, Kahn was unable to attend school and had to write his matric exams at a police station.
“It was tough having to write at the police station, but I told myself even if it’s life or death, I will go write my exams and I am glad I went. I didn’t want to just throw it all away.
"I felt safe at the police station, writing at school was not easy, I was always terrified,” Kahn said.
He said he was happy with his results and would study IT.