- Bhukulani Secondary School's three best friends all scored distinctions for Mathematics, Physical Science, Accounting, English, Life Orientation and Geography.
- Gugulethu Thuzi, 18, missed a seventh distinction in IsiZulu by a single mark.
- Takuddzwa Chikonye was recognised as the third-best Physical Science pupil nationally.
The third-best Physical Science pupil in the country received a hero's welcome at Bhukulani Secondary School in Zondi, Soweto, on Tuesday.
The soft-spoken Takuddzwa Chikonye, 17, received a standing ovation from teachers, students and a few parents when he entered the school.
Chikonye scored distinctions in Mathematics, Physical Science, Accounting, English, Life Orientation and Geography.
Behind him, walked his best friends and fellow achievers, Ntokozo Hlongwane and Gugulethu Thuzi, both 18, who were also welcomed with warm arms.
Hlongwane and Thuzi also scored six distinctions - Mathematics, Physical Science, Accounting, English, Life Orientation and Geography.
Thuzi just missed a seventh distinction in IsiZulu by a single mark.
Chikonye and Thuzi are heading to the University of Cape Town, while Hlongwane will study at Wits University.
The three best friends will all be studying Actuarial Science.
Mother died in 2010
Thuzi, who lost her mother in 2010, lives in Soweto with her aunt and sibling.
"I wish my mother was alive to cherish my achievement. I know that she is watching me in heaven and is proud of the young woman I have become. I want to thank my aunt for believing in me and encouraging me to study hard.
"I am going to UCT with one mission: to graduate and become a role model for my other relatives. Education is the only weapon that will help me to conquer," Thuzi said.
Hlongwane is raised by his grandmother.
He thanked his grandmother for believing in him when things were difficult in his life.
"My grandmother is proud of me. I can't wait to see her reaction when she sees my results. She is my pillar and knew that I was going to make her proud. I love her and owe her a lot.
"I am lucky to be surrounded by friends who love education. Our teachers also played a big role by pushing all of us at school to work hard," Hlongwane said.