Cape Town twins Yusuf and Yaqoop Arrison walked a much tougher road to matric than many of their peers, surviving a devastating family shooting.
They were awarded the Ministerial Award at the annual national matric award ceremony hosted at the Western Cape premier's residence in Cape Town on Thursday.
The twins were recognised for showing fortitude despite adversity during their high school studies, both achieving a bachelors pass for their matric.
"After their father passed away from cancer, their mother, lost in personal and financial despair, shot and killed their older brother and attempted to do the same to the twins, before shooting herself," said Archie Lewis, deputy director general of the Western Cape Education Department.
"One received a gunshot wound to the hand and despite his injury, carried his more severely wounded twin, who was shot in the head, to safety."
Yusuf, who was shot in the head, sustained damage to his brain and as a result suffers impaired vision. This meant that his twin, Yaqoop, had to read his work to him to assist him in passing his subjects.
"Helping him wasn't that much of a challenge for me but he has different subjects to me. He has Geography and I have IT, and then that was weird, reading something I don't understand but it helped," said Yaqoop.2019 matriculants, Yusuf and Yaqoop Arrison received an award presented by Debbie Schäfer, Minister of Education in the Western Cape. (Amy Gibbings)
His brother enthusiastically agreed. "Where ever the one had difficulty, we would always be there for each other."
Yusuf will be studying Psychology at the University of the Western Cape and Yaqoop, who was a little less sure, said he's interested in the music industry and would like to get a degree from the film school AFDA.
The boys were 14 years old at the time of the incident in 2017.
They now live in the same house with their aunt who looks after them. They have received counselling and support from their close community.