By Latoya Newman

He is blind but did not let that stop him from becoming one of KwaZulu-Natal's top matric achievers in 2009.

Tongaat's Nkosingiphile Nyanale, from Arthur Blaxall School in Pietermaritzburg, has emerged as one of the five top performing pupils from special schools in KZN.

What makes his achievement even more impressive is that the pupils at Arthur Blaxall write the same matric final exams as the pupils in normal state schools, even though Arthur Blaxall is classified as a "special school".

Nkosingiphile attributed his success to his grandmother, who raised him.

"I live with my grandmother," he said. "She has taken care of me since I was a year old. My mother died and I never knew my father. My grandmother is my guardian."

Nkosingiphile received As for Life Orientation, History and Religious Studies. He now intends to study law at the University of KZN.

He said he had never allowed his blindness to get him down.

"In fact it is what keeps me going," he said. "One must not allow one's disabilities to hamper one. One must overcome them and rise above them."

Nicholas Staden from Kenmont School on the Bluff said he had found a way to control his learning disability through sport.

Nicholas got two As, for Maths Literacy and Travel and Tourism. He said other pupils with learning disabilities should not let the disabilities stand in their way.

"I have a learning disability when it comes to reading and spelling," he said. "I was always very active and I had no place to channel that. So I got involved in sports to help me focus, and that worked."

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