Matriculants in Khutsong defied the odds and did themselves proud this year.
Pupils from the troubled township outside Carletonville in North West had been enrolled as shock troops in the battle to protest against the incorporation of Merafong municipality into North West.
Many did not receive a day's education this year before August and none wrote mid-year examinations because of class disruptions, mass intimidation and boycotts.
In August the North West education department shipped about 450 of the township's 500-plus matric students to a former teachers' training college in Taung, where they prepared for the final examinations.
"I am anxiously waiting to see how I performed but I am positive I did well," said former learners' representative council president Sibusiso Kula.
Kula, a pupil at Badirile High School, was behind the campaign to get pupils back to school.
His perseverance and defiance in the face of intimidation has paid of. He got two distinctions and an exemption with merit.
The 19-year-old said the two months in Taung had done wonders for him and his disillusioned classmates.
He said the tense political situation had harmed all the students educationally and emotionally, but the team of teachers at Taung had inspired them to struggle past their obstacles.
The provincial education department had assembled a team of about 40 of its best teachers to prepare the troubled students for their examinations.
"Our main focus in Taung was on education," Kula said. "We had a point to prove to ourselves and to the nation."
He now dreams of studying for a BCom at the University of North West.
"I want to contribute to the economy of my country," he said.
Mandla Segwele said he expected at least one distinction - in mathematics.
"In the trial exams I got 96 percent."
He collected two distinctions and got an exemption with merit. He wants to study financial mathematics at Wits next year.
Thabo Maloja of Twasungu Secondary School said: "Given the way we worked, the results must be positive."
He collected one distinction with merit.
Badirile collected 139 passes and 12 distinctions, Tswasungu collected 94 passes and seven distinctions and Rebogile 75 passes and four distictions.