Saturday, March 8, 2008

Cyril Ramaphosa by Anthony Butler

Cyril Ramaphosa by Anthony ButlerCyril Ramaphosa
Author: Anthony Butler
Format: Softcover

Cyril Ramaphosa is one of South Africa's most celebrated political leaders. He first came to prominence in the 1980s as general secretary of the National Union of Mineworkers and as a major force in the domestic struggle for political freedom. When Nelson Mandela was released from prison in February 1990, Ramaphosa was at the head of the reception committee that greeted him.

As secretary-general of the ANC after its unbanning, he re-established the liberation movement as a mass political party. He is widely credited with playing a major role in the negotiations that led to the democratic settlement in South Africa, and in devising the country's new and internationally renowned constitution. Soon after this triumph, Ramaphosa left politics and became a successful businessman.

This commanding biography by Anthony Butler tells the story of Cyril Ramaphosa's life for the first time. It is based on rich interviews with many of the subject's friends and contemporaries, and it situates Ramaphosa's achievements and his shortcomings in the context of the often tumultuous historical events that surrounded him.

The title begins with Ramaphosa's childhood close to Sophiatown in the turbulent Johannesburg of the 1950s, the influence of his schooling in Soweto, and the enduring imprint of his religious upbringing on his political beliefs. It charts his career as a student political activist, his two devastating periods of detention without trial in solitary confinement, the extraordinary rise of his mineworkers' union, and the role he played in the transition to a democratic South Africa.

The book offers a frank appraisal of the achievements and limitations of one of South Africa's most enigmatic political figures.

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