The country's top two matriculants in physical science said making sacrifices was essential to their success.
Nomaan Mulla, of Hoërskool Rob Ferreira, and runner-up Muhamed Charfaray, of Maritzburg College, were honoured for their achievements at the release of the National Senior Certificate results in Midrand on Wednesday night.
Mulla said he was overwhelmed by the accolade.
"I am really ecstatic and it came as such a shock to me. I am really thankful to my parents and all my teachers who supported me. They are the reason I am on this stage," he said.
He said matric was stressful and there was a great deal of pressure to perform.
"It is really important to be disciplined and understand that you will need to sacrifice things like TV and video games and phones and keeping a well-balanced life," he said.
His advice to future matrics was to set goals and do everything possible to reach them.
Charfaray echoed his sentiments.
"I think we are both really excited and happy about our achievements. It was a difficult year and there was always something to stress about."
He said he was looking forward to some down time. -- News24Wire