Cyril Ramaphosa

The Path to Power in South Africa

September 2018 9781787380158 280pp


For a long time, Cyril Ramaphosa was the nearly-man of South African politics. He was Nelson Mandela’s preferred successor, but the ANC opted for his rival, Thabo Mbeki, as the second post-apartheid president. Ramaphosa had led South Africa’s huge mineworkers’ union against the apartheid regime and was the key architect of the much-praised 1996 ‘rainbow’ constitution. He later prospered in business on the back of the first big empowerment deals with white-owned enterprises, before returning to politics and the ANC in 2012.

His eyes firmly on the prize, Ramaphosa played a long game as President Zuma became mired in scandal. In early 2018, Deputy President Ramaphosa persuaded the party to throw out Zuma and install him in his place. Announcing a ‘new dawn’, he has captivated the nation, but now faces his greatest challenge: fixing a broken economy, weeding out Zuma’s corrupt minions and the legacy of ‘state capture’ by the Gupta brothers, and delivering on the promise of a better life for the poor. 

This captivating biography outlines Ramaphosa’s extraordinary political and business career. It tells the story of one of the greatest political comebacks of modern times.​


‘A fine biography: Ray Hartley reveals the complexities of an enigmatic President with effortless prose and the sure touch of a veteran journalist.’ — Martin Plaut, former BBC World Service Africa Editor, and author of Understanding Eritrea

‘A good mystery deserves a good detective and Hartley delivers with a crisp and timely exploration of the enigmatic man promising to steer a struggling South Africa away from the cliff’s edge.’ — Andrew Harding, BBC Africa Correspondent and author of The Mayor of Mogadishu


Ray Hartley is the editor of the Rand Daily Mail. A former anti-apartheid activist, he also worked as an administrator in the constitutional negotiations that ended apartheid. He has covered the new South Africa as a political correspondent, travelling extensively with Mandela and Mbeki, and as the editor of South Africa’s largest newspaper, The Sunday Times, during the Zuma era.

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