Letlhogonolo Mafela, a physically challenged 19-year old from Matshepe village in Mahikeng, north-west, surprised many people when he passed his matric with flying colours - against all odds.
The Dr Kenneth Kaunda district municipality and Matlosana local municipality have donated R25 000 each for him to further his studies.
North-west MEC for education Raymond Elisha presented him with a meritorious award and a portable personal computer for his extraordinary achievement.
Mafela - who wrote exams holding a pen between his toes and managed to pass all the subjects - was born without arms and uses his feet and mouth to eat and write.
He achieved Grade 12 with admission to a higher institution. He got 74% in maths, 43% in physical sciences, 64% in Setswana, 71% in English, 74% in life orientation and 66% in life sciences.
This Mutuba High School pupil is going to study biological sciences at the North-west University this year.
"As a person, you are beautiful no matter how you are and you will conquer challenges if you are determined. Hard work and dedication pays," said a happy Letlhogonolo.
"My dream has just begun. This is a new chapter for me."
He said he declined extra time during his examination when his teachers were offering him out of pity.
"I declined and told them that I wanted to get this matric on merit, just like any other learner," he said.
His mother, Grace Mafela said she thanked God for giving her strength to raise Letlhogonolo as a single parent.
"He is not a shy child. He is a fast learner and is not afraid to learn new things."
She said Letlhogonolo helped himself with most of his studies at home and at school.
"It was tough but I thank God for helping us to be where we are today, I am grateful despite all the challenges," she said.
– the sowetan