Deputy President Matamela Cyril 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. He completed his high school at Mphaphuli High School in Sibasa, Venda in 1971.
He began his studies at the University of the North in 1972, where he became involved in student politics, joining the South African Student Organisation (SASO) and the Black People’s Convention (BPC). He was detained in 1974 for organising pro-Frelimo rallies that were held to celebrate the independence of Mozambique. He was detained for the second time in 1976 following the Soweto student uprising.
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. 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 and was included among the Time 100 Most Influential People in the World in 2007. 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 the National Planning Commission.
In December 2012, he was elected ANC Deputy President. He was appointed Deputy President of the Republic of South Africa on 25 May 2014.