The early years
  • Matamela Cyril Ramaphosa is born on 17th November 1952 in Johannesburg.
  • Starts school in 1959 in Western Native Township, Johannesburg.
  • Family is moved from Western Native to Soweto in 1962.
  • Grows up in Soweto, attending Tshilldzi Primary School.
  • Completes high school at Mphaphuli High School in Sibasa, Venda in 1971.
At University
  • Registers to study law at the University of the North in 972.
  • Involved in student politics, joining the South African Student Organisation (SASO) and the Black People’s Convention (BPC).
  • Detained in solitary confinement for eleven months in 1974 under Section 6 of the Terrorism Act for organising pro-frelimo rallies. Is detained for the second time and held for six months in 1976 following the Soweto student uprising.
As a Lawyer
  • Becomes a law clerk for a Johannesburg firm of attorneys.
  • Continues studies through the University of South Africa (UNISA) obtains his B Proc degree in 1981.
  • Joins the Council of Unions of South Africa (CUSA) as a legal advisor.
As a union leader (NUM)
  • Founds the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) in 1982 with James Motlatsi and Elijah Barayi.
  • Elected as the first General Secretary of the union.
  • Leads mineworkers in on of the biggest strikes in South Africa’s history in 1987.
  • Resigns from NUM in 1991 following his election as African National Congress (ANC) Secretary General.
As a union leader continued...
  • In 1985, NUM breaks away from CUSA and helps to establish the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU).
  • Delivers key note address at COSATU’s launch rally in Durban in December 1985.
  • Plays a role in the Mass Democratic Movement (MDM) when COSATU joins forces with the United Democratic Front (UDF) against the apartheid government.
In hiding and the Olof Palme Prize
  • Goes into hiding in July 1986 after the declaration of a state of emergency.
  • Travels to the United Kingdom and appears with NUM president James Motlatsi at a conference of British National Mineworkers.
  • Receives the Olaf Palme Prize in 1987. Initially refused a passport to travel to Britain in 1987, but upon being awarded the Olaf Palme prize, is permitted to travel to Stockholm to receive it.
The Reception Committee
  • Becomes chairperson of the Reception Committee to receive Rivonia trialists.
  • In 1990, accompanies released ANC political prisoners to Lusaka, Zambia.
  • Serves as chairperson of the National Chamber Committee, which coordinated arrangements and release of Nelson Mandela and subsequent welcome rallies within South Africa.
  • Also a member of the International Mandela Reception Committee.
In The African National Congress
  • Serves as ANC Secretary General from 1991 to 1996.
  • Elected to the ANC National Executive Committee in 1991 serving to the present.
  • Becomes head of the ANC’s negotiation team at the Convention for a Democratic South Africa (CODESA) and the subsequent multi-party talks.
  • Plays a crucial role, together with Roelf Meyer of the National Party, in steering the country towards its first democratic elections in April 1994.
  • Becomes a member of parliament and is elected the chairperson of the Constitutional Assembly on 24th May 1994.
  • Recognised and respected for his contribution to the country’s internationally acclaimed Constitution.
  • Awarded the National Order of the Baobab in Silver in 2009 for his contributions and for conveying and chairing the Constitutional Assembly.
  • On completion of the constitution drafting process, leaves parliament and position as ANC Secretary General to move into business, joining New Africa Investments Limited (NAIL).
Started Shanduka
  • Establishes Shanduka in 2001 as a black owned investment holding company.
  • The company is invested in a diverse portfolio of listed and unlisted assets.
The start of the Adopt-a-School Foundation
  • In 1999, is contacted by his former primary school, Tshilldizi, to donate a fax machine.
  • In 2000, assists Dargle Primary School and Thuthuzekani Primary School.
  • Forms the Adopt-a-School Foundation in 2001 with a group of concerned individuals and acts as Chairman for the Foundation.
  • In 2002 the Foundation is registered.
  • December 2002, the first Board meeting is held.
  • Tremendous growth of the Foundation with 146 schools currently under adoption in Southern Africa.
Adopt-a-School Foundation firsts
  • Tshilldizi Primary School is the first school to be adopted by Johnnic and Golfields in 2000.
  • Banksdrift Primary School is the first entirely new school built in 2009.
  • The first Social and Skills Development projects take place in Bodibe schools in 2009.
Back to School Party
  • The first Back to School Party was held in 2007 at the Sandton Sun with 400 guests and featured live music and MCíng from Fiona Ramsay, the Pointing Sisters, DJ Fistaz and Pantsula Dancers.
  • Over the years has provided massive fundraising support for the Foundation with 1000 guests attending 2011’s Back to School Party.
  • After 6 years running, the Back to School Party has proved to be massive successfully and the 2012 event will be held at Toyota Halfway
Shanduka Foundation
Instrumental in developing and providing leadership to the three NGO’s under the Shanduka Foundation, formed in 2004, including:
  • The Adopt-a-School Foundation;
  • Cyril Ramaphosa Education Trust, started in 1996 to provide full bursaries to students wishing to study a career in commerce;
  • Shanduka Black Umbrellas, formed in 2009 to provide support to black owned small enterprises
International profile
  • Appointed as an inspector in Northern Ireland for the Irish Republican Army weapons dumps.
  • Honorary Consul General for Iceland in Johannesburg
  • One of Time magazine’s 100 Most Influential People in the World in 2007.
  • Multiparty negotiations and for chairing the Constitutional Assembly to draft the new Constitution of South Africa
  • Partners with Black Umbrellas to establish Shanduka Black Umbrellas, a small business incubator.
National Planning Commission (NPC)
  • Appointed Deputy Chairperson of the National Planning Commission, which develops the National Development Plan.
ANC Deputy President
  • Elected ANC Deputy President. Initiates a review of business interests.
Deputy President of The Republic of South Africa
  • Appointed Deputy President of the Republic of South Africa. Announces divestment from Shanduka Group to free himself up to fulfil responsibilities as Deputy President without the possibility of conflict of interest.
Skills Development
  • Shanduka Foundation becomes an independent entity and is renamed Cyril Ramaphosa Foundation focussing on education, skills development and enterprise development.
Labour stability
  • Achieves agreement among social partners on a national minimum wage and labour stability.


The CR17 campaign promotes the unity and renewal of the African National Congress. It seeks to restore the values and character of the ANC as a selfless champion of the South African people.

CR17 calls on all ANC members and supporters who share this objective to work together – within the structures, practices and discipline of the ANC – to build a united, strong and mass-based movement.


Struggle leader

Cyril Ramaphosa is a stalwart of the South African liberation struggle, a skilful and formidable negotiator and strategist, and one of the most influential leaders in the ANC and the country. He built the largest and most powerful trade union in South Africa, the National Union of Mineworkers, which made immeasurable improvements in the living conditions and working standards of the country’s largest workforce.

Negotiating a new era

When Nelson Mandela was released from prison in 1990, Cyril Ramaphosa was at his side to introduce him to the crowds at Cape Town City Hall. While ANC Secretary General, he led the ANC team in negotiations with the National Party regime to bring about a peaceful end to apartheid and steer the country towards its first democratic elections. Ramaphosa also chaired the Constitutional Assembly, which adopted South Africa’s first democratic Constitution.

Successful business person

Following the adoption of the Constitution, Ramaphosa went into business. He chaired the Black Economic Empowerment Commission, which helped establish South Africa’s broad-based empowerment policies. He established Shanduka Group in 2002, which he built into a leading black-owned and -managed diversified investing holding company. As a result of his appointment as Deputy President in 2014, Ramaphosa divested of his stake in Shanduka.

Social entrepreneur

Cyril Ramaphosa is chairperson of the Cyril Ramaphosa Foundation (formerly Shanduka Foundation) which does critical work in education, skills development and enterprise development. Through its programmes, the Foundation has adopted over 600 schools and assisted almost 800 000 learners, provided comprehensive bursaries to over 100 university students, and provided incubation support to over 900 black-owned small businesses that have created 10,000 jobs.

Serving people

Ramaphosa was elected Deputy President of the ANC in December 2012 and has served as Deputy President of South Africa since 2014. He was the Deputy Chairperson of the National Planning Commission, which was responsible for drafting the National Development Plan.