Ramaphosa, Cyril (Matamela Cyril Ramaphosa), 1952–, South African political leader, b. Johannesburg. A lawyer, he became involved in the antiapartheid Black Consciousness Movement while a university student and was detained (1974, 1976) for his political activities. A legal adviser to the National Council of Trade Unions, he became the founding general secretary (1982–91) of the National Union of Mineworkers, helping to build it into the country's largest trade union; he also helped found (1985) the Congress of South African Trade Unions. As secretary general (1991–96) of the African National Congress , he was the ANC's lead negotiator in the consultations that led to the end of apartheid . Elected (1994) to parliament, he chaired (1994–96) the constitutional assembly that wrote South Africa's postapartheid constitution. Nelson Mandela 's preferred choice as his successor, he entered (1997) the private sector after Thabo Mbeki was selected instead by the ANC and eventually founded (2001) the Shanduka Group, becoming a wealthy business executive. In 2012 he became ANC deputy president with the support of Jacob Zuma ; two years later he became deputy president of South Africa and chairman of the National Planning Commission. In 2017 he was elected president of the ANC, narrowly defeating Zuma's choice, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, Zuma's former wife. After Zuma resigned as president in 2018 under pressure from the ANC, Ramaphosa was elected president of South Africa.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
See more Encyclopedia articles on: African History: Biographies