Mar 2018 1st Edition

A new dawn for South Africa

From the Union Buildings

South Africa’s new President inspires hope with his drive to renew the nation.

When Cyril Ramaphosa was sworn in as the President of South Africa on 15 February, South Africans were once again united in joy, peace and hope for a bright future.

“Together, we are going to make history. We have done it before and we will do it again,” said President Ramaphosa.

 As South Africa prepares to mark the centenary of the former statesman, South Africans should honour Madiba and build the future that he envisioned.

President Ramaphosa took office as President following former President Jacob Zuma’s resignation after being recalled by the African National Congress.

“We should put behind us the era of diminishing trust in public institutions and weakened confidence in leaders. We should put all the negativity that has dogged our country behind us, because a new dawn, inspired by our collective memory of Nelson Mandela and the changes that are unfolding, is upon us.

“As we rid our minds of all negativity, we should reaffirm our belief that South Africa belongs to all who live in it,” the President confirmed.

Get you know your President

President Cyril Ramaphosa and his wife Dr Tshepo Motsepe-Ramaphosa.President Ramaphosa was born on 17 November 1952 in Johannesburg. His family was moved from Western Native Township to Soweto in 1962, where he attended Tshilidzi Primary School and completed his secondary education at Mphaphuli High School in Sibasa, Venda, in 1971.

In 1972 President Ramaphosa commenced his studies at the University of the North, where he became involved in student politics and joined the South African Student Organisation and the Black People’s Convention.

He played an important role in the liberation struggle to ensure a democratic South Africa.

The President was detained in 1974 for organising pro-Frelimo rallies that were held to celebrate the independence of Mozambique. Two years later, after the Soweto student uprising, he was detained again.   

In 1982 President Ramaphosa became the first general secretary of the National Union of Mineworkers, and he was elected as the African National Congress (ANC) secretary general in 1991.  He then became head of the ANC team that negotiated the transition to democracy.

Following the country’s first democratic elections in 1994, President Ramaphosa was elected chairperson of the Constitutional Assembly, which wrote South Africa's new democratic constitution. He was also the deputy chairperson of South Africa’s National Planning Commission, which was responsible for compiling the National Development Plan.

He moved into the private sector in 1996, and in 2001 founded Shanduka Group, a diversified investment holding company. He resigned from Shanduka in 2012, following his appointment as Deputy President of South Africa.

President Ramaphosa holds a law degree from the University of South Africa and has received several honorary doctorates from local and international universities.

President Ramaphosa is married to Dr Tshepo Motsepe-Ramaphosa, who was born in Soweto. A medical doctor by profession, she holds a Master’s Degree in public health from Harvard University.

Dr Motsepe-Ramaphosa is the sister of business mogul and billionaire Patrice Motsepe and Bridgette Radebe, who is married to Minister in the Presidency, Jeff Radebe.

The first lady is also the current chairperson of the African Self-Help Association Trust. 

Educational background 

Mphaphuli High School, Sibasa, South Africa (1971)

University of the North, Baccalaureus Procurationis – Law

National University of Lesotho, Awarded in 2002 Honorary Doctor of Laws

University of the North, Awarded in 2002 Honorary Doctorate

University of South Africa, Completed 1981 B. Proc. Degree – Law

University of Massachusetts, United States of America, Honorary Doctorate

University of Cape Town, Honorary Doctorate

University of KwaZulu-Natal, Honorary Doctorate

University of Port Elizabeth, Honorary Doctorate

  • Olof Palme prize in Stockholm in 1987.
  • The National Order of the Baobab in Silver, in 2009, for his contribution to the multi-party negotiations and for chairing the Constitutional Assembly.


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