Pretoria - Two visually impaired Pretoria learners have been lauded for being among the top achievers in the Class of 2018.
Mongezi Mbatha, 17, and Rowan Crafford, 18, from the Prinshof School for Partially Sighted & Blind, were honoured by Basic Education Minister Angie Motshegka at a breakfast function at Vodacom World in Midrand.
A total of 796,542 pupils wrote the examinations - 7,253 more than the number who wrote in 2017.
The two boys were amongst 29 learners countrywide to be honoured. Both boys said they are still trying to digest the good news.
"It was a surprise, I didn't expect such a thing to happen. My day yesterday started with gardening in the morning and being here in the evening, it's quite a contrast," said Crafford, with a beaming face.
The two boys who have been friends since Grade 8 plan to continue studying together at the University of Pretoria.
Mbatha plans to study Informatics because of his love for Information and Technology, while the eloquent Crafford wants to study languages including English, German and Latin.
Both students said they eased through their exams, and this was because they had always been preparing themselves since they started school.
"When I was much younger, I don't remember which grade I was in, I saw this ceremony on TV and just said to myself that I want to be there in future, but didn't think it would actually happen," said Mbatha with a chuckle.
Londiwe Mbatha, Mongezi's mom, was all smiles as she spoke highly of her son and could not contain her excitement.
"I'm really proud of my son. I'm overwhelmed with joy, I don't even have words to explain how I'm feeling," she said with a smile.
Although Mongezi is a star now, his journey wasn't an easy one. His mother said previously he was not attending a special school and his needs were not catered for.
"He was really struggling, he was slow in taking notes because he couldn't see properly on the board and no one paid attention to his needs...after we moved him to a special school, that's when he started flourishing."
Motshegka, who promised not to make a lengthy speech as the day was not about her but about the learners, stayed true to her word.
The results of the 2018 NSC examinations will be released on Friday, while the Independent Examination Board results were released on Thursday.
"We are looking forward to you taking us into the fourth industrial revolution. You are not here because of miracles, you are here because you worked for it. So, thank you," she said
Motshegka is expected to release the official NSC results at 6pm at the same venue on Friday.
African News Agency/ANA