ramaphosa cabinet
President Cyril Ramaphosa? Image: GCIS

Home » Who is Cyril Ramaphosa, our re-elected president?

Who is Cyril Ramaphosa, our re-elected president?

South Africa’s parliament has re-elected Cyril Ramaphosa as the country’s president. Here is a closer look at who he is.

ramaphosa cabinet
President Cyril Ramaphosa? Image: GCIS

South Africa’s parliament has re-elected Cyril Ramaphosa as president following a coalition deal between the governing African National Congress (ANC) and opposition parties. Here is a closer look at who president Cyril Ramaphosa is.


Cyril Ramaphosa, 71, was born in Johannesburg in November 1952. According to the BBC, the government moved his family to Soweto when he was a young child.

Ramaphosa’s biographer, professor Anthony Butler, stated that as a secondary school learner, Ramaphosa ‘took his school teachers to task if he didn’t think they were working hard enough’ and added that he was very popular and confident as a young man. Jacana Media published the biography Cyril Ramaphosa: The Road to Presidential Power in 2019.

He matriculated from Mphaphuli High School in Sibasa, Limpopo, in 1971, and registered to study law at the University of the North. There he became involved in student politics, but did not complete his studies. Ramaphosa became a law clerk for a Johannesburg law firm and continued his studies through the University of South Africa (UNISA). He obtained a B. Proc degree in 1981.


President Cyril Ramaphosa is South Africa’s fifth post-apartheid president. He had his sights set on the presidential role since the ANC came to power in 1994. Ramaphosa worked closely with Nelson Mandela and was eager to become his deputy. However, Thabo Mbeki, who was more senior, secured the position.

Ramaphosa took up the role of MP and played a leading role in drafting South Africa’s post-apartheid constitution, one of the most liberal in the world.


After withdrawing from the centre-stage of politics as a relatively young man, Ramaphosa became a businessman. He became involved in various ventures, including telecoms, mining, and fast food.

Apart from being president, he is also one of the wealthiest people in the country.

Interestingly, one of Ramaphosa’s biggest business deals came in March 2011 when the McDonald’s Corporation announced him as the new developmental licensee for South Africa. He was responsible for the operation of all the McDonald’s restaurants in South Africa.

Ramaphosa also held many board positions, including chairman of Bidvest, Mondi, and MTN, and non-executive directorships at Macsteel, Alexander Forbes, SABMiller, and Standard Bank.

His venture into the private sector ended in 2014 after Jacob Zuma selected him as Deputy President.


Before meeting his current wife, Ramaphosa was married twice. He was married to Hope Ramaphosa from 1978 to 1989, and they have a son. From 1991 to 1993 he was married to the late businesswoman Nomazizi Mtshotshisa.

In 1996, he married Tshepo Motsepe, after meeting her on a blind date set up by her friends. She was 33 years old at the time. The couple has four children together.

In 2017, Ramaphosa admitted to having an affair with a medical practitioner eight years prior. He confessed this to his wife.

“I had a relationship with only one person and it ended. I dealt with it with my wife.”

Cyril Ramaphosa