Middleburg — When Eric Moloko woke up on Wednesday morning, it was to learn that he got distinctions in all his subjects.
The 18-year-old has excelled in Zulu, English, Mathematics, Life Orientation, Electrical Technology, Engineering Graphics and Design, and Physical Science.
Eric, who lives in a three-room shack in Mhluzi township outside Middelburg, Mpumalanga, with his mother - who works as a cleaner - and two siblings, was abandoned by his father when he and his siblings were young.
Now the youngster with dreams of a better future in the horizon has matriculated from Mphanama Secondary School, where he formed a study group when he was in Grade 11.
"I want to send a message to young people out there that regardless of the conditions and situation you come from, it is possible to be an achiever just like me," he said.
"I formed a study group of 10 pupils when I was in Grade 11 and we studied on weekends. We took winter classes and we also studied in the evenings," he said.
Eric said he doesn't have a girlfriend and doesn't play sports.
His proud mother, Elizabeth Shabangu, 41, works at Steelcrest High School in Middelburg as a cleaner.
"Eric promised he would study hard so he could get a good job, buy me a house and get me out of the shack," she said.
Shabangu said she first saw Eric's potential when he came top of his class in Grade 10.
He was also top of his class in Grade 11.
"I would like to thank his teachers for helping him throughout his high school education," she said.
Eric has received a bursary from the Exarro mining company to study mining engineering.