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17 interesting things to know about our new-ish president, Ramaphosa

After being elected unopposed as president of the sixth Parliament and being sworn-in on Saturday, Matamela Cyril Ramaphosa vowed to be the president of all people.

Cyril Ramaphosa at his inauguration on 25 May 2019. Abigail Javier

JOHANNESBURG – Cyril Ramaphosa was inaugurated as the president of the Republic of South Africa on Saturday.

After being elected unopposed as president of the sixth Parliament, he vowed to be the president of all people.

“I undertake to mind the aspirations and hopes and expectations of the people of South Africa. In this regard, I will seek to act and be the president of all South Africans and not just the president of those who voted for the party that I lead and those who voted for parties that are here.”

South Africans took to the polls on 8 May where Ramaphosa’s party, the African National Congress, emerged victoriously.

But he's not a new president. Ramaphosa took over leading the country after Jacob Zuma resigned as state head on 14 February 2018.

Eyewitness News has complied 17 interesting facts about our newest president:

  • Matamela Cyril Ramaphosa attended Tshilidzi Primary School and Sekano-Ntoane High School in Soweto. However, he matriculated from Mphaphuli High School in Sibasa, Venda – modern-day Limpopo – in 1971.

  • In high school, Ramaphosa used to sing, dance and preach and during his final year at Mphaphuli High School, he was elected head of the Student Christian Movement.

  • Ramaphosa has been married three times and has fathered five children in total. Ramaphosa was previously married to Hope Ramaphosa and the late businesswoman Nomazizi Mtshotshisa. He is currently married to Tshepo Motsepe, a medical doctor and the sister of South African mining billionaire Patrice Motsepe.

President Cyril Ramaphosa and spouse Dr Tshepo Motsepe (right) arrive at the Absa Cafe & are received by CEO of the ABSA Group Maria Ramos (left) to attend the South African Investment Seminar taking place on margins on the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland on 24 January 2019. Picture: @PresidencyZA/Twitter

  • He and former President of Finland Martti Ahtisaari were inspectors for the Irish Republican Army weapons dump in Northern Ireland.

  • As deputy president of South Africa in 2014, he refused to move into State House, opting to stay in his family home in Hyde Park where some of his children lived.

  • It's actually Dr Ramaphosa. He holds 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, the University of Massachusetts Amherst and the University of Pennsylvania.

  • As the National Union of Mineworkers’ leader, Ramaphosa was honoured with the Olof Palme prize for great “courage and wisdom in the struggle for human rights and dignity” in 1987.

  • New dawn indeed. In 2007, Time magazine listed him as one of the 100 men and women whose power, talent and moral example was transforming the world. He also made it to the 2019 list of 100 most influential people.

  • He is one of the richest people in the country and is estimated to be worth over R5.67 billion thanks to his multiple properties all over the country, including farms.

  • His Cape Town home is a mansion in the shadow of Lion's Head and is valued at around R30 million.

  • The president once said his favourite food is fish and salad.

  • Ramaphosa said he would donate half of his presidential salary to the Nelson Mandela Foundation.

  • He loves fishing and he’s quite good at it good. So good, he even taught Evita Bezuidenhout how to fish.

WATCH: Bezuidenhout gets a fishing lesson from Ramaphosa

  • He is so into Ankole cattle, he even wrote a book about it titled: Cattle of the Ages: Ankole Cattle in South Africa. As an Ankole cattle breeder, he sold one of his bulls at auction for R640,000.

  • The president holds Christian beliefs. He was elected head of the Strong Christian Movement in high school. While aligned to the Black Consciousness Movement when he was a university student, he became active in the University Student Christian Movement, which was meant to push forward black theology and ideas of black consciousness.

  • Polyglot alert! Ramaphosa is fluent in all 11 South African languages.

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