Walking with Ramaphosa: Lybon Mabasa gives insight into Cyril's formative years

On the day that Cyril Ramaphosa was inaugurated as president, Lybon Mabasa remembered the conversations the two had on their walks to and from school.

President Cyril Ramaphosa pictured dancing after his inauguration ceremony at the Loftus Versfeld Stadium in Pretoria on 25 May 2019. Picture: Abigail Javier/EWN.

CAPE TOWN - "I've never known Cyril without him leading something or another."

So said Lybon Mabasa of Cyril Ramaphosa just hours before his inauguration as the fifth president of South Africa at Loftus Versfeld Stadium in Pretoria on Saturday.

Speaking to 702's Clement Manyathela, Mabasa remembered the walks to and from high school and the interesting conversations the two young men had.

Mabasa recalled that Ramaphosa displayed leadership abilities from a young age, starting with the Young Ambassadors Christian Club and being elected as head of the Student Christian Movement at high school.

"Wherever he went - be it in Soweto, or then Venda - he would be leading something. There was a bold evangelical Christian movement that he was also leading. Within the student body, he would be part of the cultural leadership, leading cultural activities, introducing films, encouraging dialogue, inviting people to come and address students."

The young Ramaphosa also had a talent for public speaking, with Mabasa recalling that the two of them used to preach on the streets and the trains.

"We have preached on the street corners together. He is a good preacher. He has also preached in the trains... you know when you preach in the trains or in the streets, you don't prepare sermons, you have to speak from the heart. He has done that... he can be a good pastor if he wanted to be one."

Mabasa also revealed that Ramaphosa walked from Johannesburg to Cape Town, as part of a group of people from the Young Ambassadors Christian Club "to share the good news".

"It was a time when we were all asking ourselves about the relevance of our faith; does it have relevance when we were growing up within a community which was asking tough questions about our position and the need to transform or change our situation and define a new destiny for ourselves."

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