South Africa President Cyril Ramaphosa: Biography, Personal Profile, Career

Cyril Ramaphosa was elected unopposed as President of South Africa by the National Assembly on 15 February 2018.
September 25, 2021 | 10:17
Photo: Bloomberg
South Africa President Cyril Ramaphosa. Photo: Bloomberg

Who is Cyril Ramaphosa - Biography

Matamela Cyril Ramaphosa is the President of the Republic of South Africa; a position he was appointed to on 15 February 2018.

Ramaphosa was appointed Chairman of the National Planning Commission on 3 June 2014.

In December 2012, he was elected Deputy President of the African National Congress (ANC).

Academic Qualifications

Ramaphosa completed his schooling at Mphaphuli High School in Sibasa, South Africa in 1971.

He holds a law degree from the University of South Africa obtained in 1981, cited South African Government.

Ramaphosa has also received several honorary doctorates from local and international universities, including the University of Massachusetts, the University of Cape Town, the National University of Lesotho, the University of KwaZulu-Natal, and the University of the North.

South Africa President Cyril Ramaphosa: Early Life

After the completion of his education for law degrees, he joined the Council of Unions of South Africa (CUSA) and served as a Legal Advisor. In 1982, he began the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) based on the request of the Council, CUSA.

Also, he became the first General Secretary of the group and was instrumental in establishing the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU).

South Africa's President Cyril Ramaphosa greets the media prior to the BRICS summit in Brasilia, Brazil, on November 14, 2019. Photo: Pavel Golovkin/Reuters
South Africa's President Cyril Ramaphosa greets the media prior to the BRICS summit in Brasilia, Brazil, on November 14, 2019. Photo: Pavel Golovkin/Reuters

Aside that, he also served as the chairperson of the National Reception Committee, and coordinated the release of Nelson Mandela. Then, he was the ANC Secretary General and he became the head of the ANC’s negotiation team at the Convention for a Democratic South Africa (CODESA) and other multi-party talks, reported entrepreneurs.ng.

Also, in 1994, in SA’s first democratic elections, he was the Chairperson of the Constitutional Assembly and oversaw the drafting of the South African constitution.

South Africa President Cyril Ramaphosa: Career

Ramaphosa was Deputy President of the Republic of South Africa from 25 May 2014 until 15 February 2018. He began his studies at the University of the North in 1972, where he became involved in student politics, joining the South African Student Organisation (SASO) and the Black People's Convention (BPC).

He was detained in 1974 for organizing pro-Frelimo rallies that were held to celebrate the independence of Mozambique. He was detained for the second time in 1976 following the Soweto student uprising and later imprisoned, according to South African Government.

Ramaphosa became the first general secretary of the National Union of Mineworkers in 1982. In 1991, he was elected ANC secretary-general and subsequently became head of the ANC team that negotiated the transition to democracy.

Following the country's first democratic elections in 1994, he was elected chairperson of the Constitutional Assembly, which wrote South Africa's new democratic constitution.

New ANC President Cyril Ramaphosa moments before winning. Photo: EPA-EFE/Cornell Tukiri
New ANC President Cyril Ramaphosa moments before winning. Photo: EPA-EFE/Cornell Tukiri

Ramaphosa moved into the private sector in 1996. He was the executive chairperson of Shanduka Group, which he founded in 2001. Ramaphosa became the First Deputy Chairperson of Commonwealth Business Council.

He served as the deputy chairperson of the National Planning Commission from 2010 until 2014.

South Africa President Cyril Ramaphosa: Personal Life

Cyril was previously married to Hope Ramaphosa (1978 – 1989). Then, between 1991 – 1993, he got married to a business woman, Nomazizi Mitshotshisa, who is now late.

Currently, he is married to Tshepo Motsepe, a medical doctor and the sister of the South African mining billionaire Patrice Motsepe, cited entrepreneurs.ng.

Altogether, he has five known children. Also, he is a polyglot, known for including variety of South African languages in his speeches.

South Africa President Cyril Ramaphosa: Awards And Recognition

Cyril has gained widespread recognition and has been awarded numerous awards and honorary doctorate degrees. For instance, he was installed as the first Chancellor of University of Mpumalanga in 2016. Also, he has received honorary doctorates degrees from the following institutions.

University of Natal

University of Port Elizabeth

National University of Lesotho

University of Cape Town

University of Venda

National University of Ireland Galway

University of Massachusetts, Boston

University of Pennsylvania

Cyril Ramaphosa has been a key figure in South African politics for decades. Photo: Siphiwe Sibeko/Reuters
Cyril Ramaphosa has been a key figure in South African politics for decades. Photo: Siphiwe Sibeko/Reuters

Also, other recognitions include;

Olof Palme Prize, 1987

Voted 34 in the Top 100 Great South Africans.

Time 100 Most Influential Persons in the World, 2007

National Order of the Baobab in Silver, 2009

One of the richest men in South Africa, 2015

One of Africa’ 50 Richest, Forbes 2015 but dropped off in 2016

Lifetime Achievement Award, Regenesys Business School, 2017

The Symbol of Black Capitalism in South Africa, BBC, 2018

Universal Health Care Award, The Access Challenge, New York, 2019

South Africa President's role

The president of the Republic of South Africa is the head of state and head of government of the Republic of South Africa. The president directs the executive branch of the government and is the commander-in-chief of the South African National Defense Force.

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