Meet the Ramaphosas

Tuesday, February 27, 2018
Meet SA's first family

South Africa’s newly elected President Cyril Ramaphosa has an illustrious career which has seen him working in the private sector, the labour movement and he was among the writers of South Africa's new democratic constitution. 

Born on 17 November 1952 in Johannesburg, President Ramaphosa played an important role in the liberation struggle for 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.  

He became the first general secretary of the National Union of Mineworkers in 1982.

In 1991, he was elected African National Congress (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. 

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. He has received several honorary doctorates from local and international universities.

He received the Olof Palme prize in Stockholm in 1987. He was awarded the National Order of the Baobab in Silver in 2009 for his contribution to the multiparty negotiations and for chairing the Constitutional Assembly.

He was also the Deputy Chairperson of South Africa’s National Planning Commission.

President Ramaphosa was elected the fifth President of the democratic SA on Thursday.

Meet SA's new First Lady

He is married to Dr Tshepo Motsepe-Ramaphosa, who isn’t very well-known as she keeps a private life.

She was born in Soweto, a medical doctor by profession and holds a Master’s Degree in public health from Harvard.

Tshepo’s surname is familiar - that’s because she is the sister of business mogul and billionaire Patrice Motsepe and the daughter of the late Chief Augustine Butana Chaane Motsepe, both mining magnates and Mamelodi Sundowns owners. 

This makes her a sister to Bridgette Radebe, who is married to Minister in the Presidency, Jeff Radebe.

The first lady also has a charitable side - having worked in several African countries and with several non-profit organisations. She is also the current chairperson of the African Self Help Trust (ASHA).

The ASHA website notes her bio as follows:

  • Worked in both private practice and in hospitals in South Africa and Zimbabwe
  • Non-executive director – Wits Health Consortium and Wits Hospice
  • Patron – South African Civil Society for Women’s, Adolescents and Children’s Health (SACSoWACH)
  • Patron – Students Sponsorship Program (SSP)
  • Served as Chairman of Gauteng Health Department’s Accreditation Committee
  • Former board member Vaal Reefs Disaster Trust
  • Former board member Kids Haven Foundation
  • Membership – National Medical and Dental Association

The trust says she is guided by the belief that “economic and social development is a pre-requisite for communities to lead socially and economically productive lives” as stated in the Alma Ata Declaration of 1978. -

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