Outstanding pupils are usually rewarded with a pen, a book or a certificate for their good work.
So a report that a Soweto boy had won a cow for being the best student at Vuwani Secondary School was an immediate sensation on blogs and social media.
Congratulations poured in from as far away as Nigeria.
There was also a firestorm of criticism.
One post asked what the boy was going to do with a cow in Soweto. “He should sell it or slaughter it.”
But it was not long before people spotted that the story might have less to do with cows and more to do with plain old BS.
Old boys at the school who saw the pictures pointed out that it was not their uniform and that the background looked more like Botswana than Soweto.