Cyril Ramaphosa was elected president by parliament in February 2018 after his predecessor, Jacob Zuma, resigned over corruption allegations.
A successful but sometimes controversial businessman, Mr Ramaphosa was picked as leader of the governing African National Congress (ANC) a few months earlier.
He inherited a struggling economy, a divided party, and the problem of entrenched corruption.
Unlike many senior party figures of his generation, Mr Ramaphosa was not driven into exile for opposing apartheid.
He fought the injustices of white minority rule from within South Africa, most prominently by defending the rights of black miners as leader of the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM).
He was heavily involved in the talks to end apartheid, and played an important role in the drafting of South Africa’s post-apartheid constitution.
After missing out on becoming then President Nelson Mandela’s deputy, Mr Ramaphosa withdrew from active political life, switching focus to business.
He returned as deputy president in 2014, before finally taking the top job from the scandalplagued Mr Zuma. He passed his first test when the ANC won the May 2019 parliamentary elections, although its 58% share of the vote was its lowest margin of victory since the end of apartheid.