Manuel Naidoo, 40, wrote the Adult Basic Education and scored 100% in Afrikaans.
He was awarded a certificate and laptop at a function hosted by the provincial Department of Education at the Durban ICC where the top matriculants in the province were honoured on Wednesday.
Naidoo, who had attended Rydal Park Secondary School, dropped out at the start of Grade 11.
“I used to truant from school and engage in bad habits like consuming alcohol. As a teenager I was stubborn and didn’t listen to anyone. I got into fights and got arrested a couple of times.