After South Africa dismantled apartheid, Ramaphosa saw his hopes for the country’s top job apparently dashed.
True to his pragmatic character, he opted instead for life in business — a move that brought him spectacular wealth.
But Tuesday’s announcement that the ruling African National Congress (ANC) had ordered that President Jacob Zuma be recalled from the presidency put Ramaphosa in pole position to succeed him.
It was after Ramaphosa failed to clinch the ANC nomination to succeed president Nelson Mandela in 1999 that he swapped politics for a foray into business that made him one of the wealthiest people in Africa.
The 65-year-old’s impressive rise to eventually lead the ANC following its December conference would have come as no surprise to Mandela.