Cyril Ramaphosa Re-Elected To Lead South Africa’s Ruling Party
Cyril Ramaphosa was re-elected leader of South Africa’s ruling party, the African National Congress, on Monday, despite being badly damaged by a cash-heist scandal that had dogged him for months.
The 70-year-old is on much shakier ground than when he was first elected party leader in 2017, amid deep divisions within the ANC – the party shaped by Nelson Mandela to spearhead the struggle to end apartheid.
Ramaphosa promised a “New dawn” for South Africa when he became president in 2018, but his image has been dented by scandal and a lacklustre economy.
Born on November 17, 1952, in Johannesburg’s Soweto township – the cradle of the anti-apartheid struggle – to a policeman and a stay-at-home mother, Ramaphosa had long eyed South Africa’s top job, but only came to it after a long detour.
A protege of Mandela, who once described him as one of the most gifted leaders of the “New generation,” Ramaphosa stood alongside the anti-apartheid icon when he walked out of jail in 1990.
After missing out on becoming Mandela’s successor, Ramaphosa swapped politics for a foray into business that made him one of the wealthiest people in Africa.
Renowned for his patience and strategic thinking, Ramaphosa narrowly defeated pro-Zuma rivals to take over leadership of the ANC party in 2017 and then the presidency when Zuma was forced out two months later.
Ramaphosa’s native tongue is Venda, one of South Africa’s 11 official languages – most of which he is now said to speak fluently.
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