KwaZulu-Natal's top matriculants were celebrating on Monday night after obtaining between six and eight distinctions each.

The province's top pupil, Colin Bigg of Westville Boy's High, was only "a bit surprised" when told that he had obtained the number one spot in the province.

A high achiever, he had expected to feature in the province's top 10.

The good news was conveyed to him by his mother, Joey.

"I was a bit surprised when my mum told me. I'm very excited. My principal Trevor Hall has already congratulated me and my parents are quite thrilled."

Colin, who obtained seven distinctions in English, Afrikaans, mathematics, physical science, history, accounting and advanced mathematics, intends studying aeronautical engineering at Wits University.

Shona Bhadree, who obtained ninth position, was "speechless" when told the good news.

The Dr A D Lazarus Secondary School pupil was enjoying the day on Durban's beachfront when she learnt she had obtained seven distinctions - much to her surprise.

"I can't believe it. I didn't expect it at all," a delighted Shona shrieked.

"Right now, I am too shocked to think about it but I am absolutely thrilled. I gave up a lot because of my studies this year," she admitted.

Shona intends studying medicine at the University of Natal, Durban, next year.

Tenth-placed Dennis Siphamandla Shozi, 16, from Umlazi - who was also the top African pupil - said although he expected to do well during the examinations he was surprised he did "so very well".

The Mariannhill Secondary School pupil obtained seven distinctions.

"I am very happy and my family is very proud. The exams were very fair," he said.

Dennis, who has been accepted to study at the University of Cape Town, intends studying actuarial science next year.

An elated Rene Bernhardt of Westville was thrilled to learn she had scored seven distinctions and had come 12th in KZN.

She said she had excelled in mathematics and physical science at Westville Girls' Hiigh School.

"I hope to study medicine next year at either the University of Natal or the University of Cape Town," Rene said. "I hope to become a doctor/missionary."

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