Image Credit: AFP PHOTO / PIB
Image Credit: AFP PHOTO / PIB

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa will be the chief guest at Republic Day 2019. The parade will commence with the laying of a wreath at the Amar Jawan Jyoti at Indian Gate by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The 90-minute parade will see 22 larger than life tableaux around the theme Mahatma Gandhi, performances by school students and others. To grace the celebrations, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa accompanied by first lady Dr Tshepo Motsepe and a high-level delegation including nine ministers, senior officials and a 50-member business contingent will have a two-day India visit. It will be Ramaphosa’s first India tour as the head of the state.

After Nelson Mandela, he is the second President of South Africa to be the Chief Guest at the Republic Day celebrations. In 2018, leaders from the 10 ASEAN nations – Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos, and Brunei – were the chief guests at Republic Day celebration.

Ahead of South African President Cyril Ramaphosa’s India visit, we bring to you 10 things to know about him.

  • Born on November 17, 1952, Matamela Cyril Ramaphosa is the fifth and current President, who earlier served as the Deputy President of South Africa from 2014 to 2018. He was also an anti-apartheid activist, businessman, and trade union leader.
  • His father Samuel Ramaphosa is a retired policeman. Ramaphosa married Tshepo Motsepe, the sister of South Africa’s richest black businessman, Patrice Motsepe.
  • He is one of South Africa’s richest men.
  • Ramaphosa has received honorary doctorates from the University of Natal, the University of Port Elizabeth, the University of Cape Town, the University of the North, the National University of Lesotho, National University of Ireland Galway, the University of Massachusetts Boston, and the University of Pennsylvania.
  • He became active in politics since his university days, while at the university he was associated with the South African Students Organisation and the Black People’s Convention. In 1974, he was detained as a student activist and was jailed for 11 months. In 1976, following the unrest in Soweto, he was jailed for six months.
  • He built up the biggest and most powerful trade union in South Africa named National Union of Mineworkers (NUM). In December 1982 was appointed the first secretary of NUM and held the position until he resigned in June 1991. Under his leadership, the membership of the union grew from 6,000 (1982) to 3,00,000 (1992).
  • He served as the chairman of the National Reception Committee. The committee worked for the release of Nelson Mandela. He also became a member of the international Mandela Reception Committee.
  • In February 2018, following Jacob Zuma’s resignation, Ramaphosa was elected South Africa’s President by the National Assembly. Since he became the president, his main priorities have been economy and land reforms.
  • With the aim to generate employment, he launched Youth Employment Service (YES) initiative. He also introduced Employment Tax Incentive, which cut down employer’s costs while hiring youth.
  • He addressed the launch of the Sanitation Appropriate For Education (SAFE) initiative to ensure every school in South Africa have safe sanitation facilities.

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