South Africa Elects Cyril Ramaphosa As Its New President

Ramaphosa started as a mine worker before becoming a tycoon. The leading anti-apartheid activist and wealthy businessman who was elected chief of the governing African National Congress in December.
James Motlatse, center, head of the National Union of Mineworkers, and Cyril Ramaphosa, right, general secretary of the union, join hands in singing the national anthem with miners in August 1987 after union members voted to continue a strike by gold and coal miners until their demands had been met. The negotiations brought Ramphosa to national prominence, and to the attention of Nelson Mandela. Source: Samson

Cyril Ramaphosa was elected president of South Africa by parliament Thursday, his elevation was guaranteed after Jacob Zuma resigned the presidency late Wednesday night.

Following the vote on the floor of the National Assembly, Ramaphosa accepted words of praise from supporters and overt electoral threats from opposition leaders — then stood at the same podium where, 22 years ago, he shepherded the ratification of South Africa's constitution.

Ramaphosa, 65, promised to "continue to improve the lives of our people," and said he would "work very hard to try to not disappoint the people of South Africa."

It was a clear indication he plans to take the country in a different direction

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from NPR

NPR3 min readPolitics
What We Know About The Attack On Saudi Oil Facilities
The U.S. and Saudi Arabia claim Iran is behind the attack. Iran denies involvement. Here's what the physical evidence shows.
NPR6 min read
Constructing Jazz Inside Fine Art, And Vice-Versa
The jazz pianist has pulled the curtain off his polymathic abilities, bringing his fine art exhibition — which includes video, installations and performance — home to New York.
NPR5 min readWellness
Russian Lab Explosion Raises Question: Should Smallpox Virus Be Kept Or Destroyed?
The lab is one of two known places that store live samples of the virus that causes the disease. Scientists use them for research. But there is concern about accidental or intentional release.