The first day back at school for pupils at Soweto's Bhukulani Secondary School started on a high note when ANC president Jacob Zuma visited them.
Zuma, accompanying Gauteng's education minister Angie Motshekga yesterday, was enthusiastically greeted by pupils, parents and teachers.
Bhukulani is one of the best performing schools in Gauteng, attaining a 98percent pass rate last year.
Zuma said: "I am excited to be here at your school to celebrate your success. I wish I was also [like you] at the right time at the right place so that I could become a better person."
He said the ANC intended to focus even more on education than it had in the past. He advised the pupils not to take the opportunity to study for granted.
"I was never [long] in school because of poverty but I had the desire to learn. At some point, I needed an interpreter because I did not understand English.
"I told myself that I would learn. If you ask me now to give you certificates, I will not, but if you ask me to work for my country I will do that, as I am now doing."
School principal Mduduzi Mathe said: "Pupils, we will supply you with stationery and books . all you have to bring are your brains."