Cyril Ramaphosa

Chief Negotiator: African National Congress (ANC) 1991-1993
Best known for building the National Union of Mineworkers into one of South Africa’s most powerful trade unions, Cyril Ramaphosa has recently been criticized for siding with the very business interests he used to fight.
Nearly thirty years ago, he led the largest wage strike in South Africa’s history when 300,000 mineworkers downed tools for three weeks. As well as being the general secretary of the NUM, he was also the ANC secretary general and met Nelson Mandela personally on his release. And Ramaphosa’s diplomacy and political acumen helped build the architecture of South Africa’s constitution and steer his country away from violent revolution into a peaceful democracy. When negotiations became especially tense, he and his opposing negotiator, Roelf Meyer, used to sing a song to the tune of “A Kiss to Build a Dream On”, substituting the word ‘deal’ for the word ‘kiss’.
Later, Mandela wanted Ramaphosa to serve as the country’s president, before Thabo Mbeki. When Ramaphosa failed to secure the presidency, he largely left public service and entered private industry. In 2011, he won the deal to take over McDonald’s in South Africa, sealing his status as one of the country’s successful businessman as well as most one of its most prominent anti-apartheid activists.