Sun, 25 Aug 2019

President Cyril Ramaphosa will be aiming for nothing less than a win at next month's election, but Time Magazine has already named him as a leader of the pack among other influencers.

The weekly United States news and current affairs magazine included Ramaphosa in its prestigious annual list of the "100 Most Influential People in The World".

The list - first published in 1999 - includes individuals of renown, power, accomplishment and infamy. Or, as TIME puts it, people who have changed the world "for better or worse".

This makes Ramaphosa the first sitting South African president to be included in the list since former president Thabo Mbeki was included in 2005.

While former president Jacob Zuma was included in the 2008 installment of the list, owing to his meteoric rise to power after a litany of legal woes, he had not been elected president at the time.

Former president Nelson Mandela's inclusion on the list in 2004 was under the section of "icons and heroes", for his work in Aids activism, as oppose to "leaders", where Ramaphosa and Mbeki have been named.

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Time Magazine correspondent Vivienne Walt penned the biography of Ramaphosa's entry.

"Now finally, at 66, Ramaphosa, or Cyril, as he's known to South Africans, has the chance to end corruption and grow the stalled economy. That could be his toughest battle yet. Blackouts, grinding poverty and massive unemployment have left millions desperate for quick results," Walt wrote.

World champion track runner Caster Semenya was also included in this year's list. Other leaders on the 2019 list are United States President Donald Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Other South Africans that have cracked previous installments of the annual list are SA-born billionaire Elon Musk in 2018, former Public Protector Thuli Madonsela in 2014 and comedian-turned The Daily Show host Trevor Noah in 2018.

It now remains to be seen whether the electorate has enough faith to put Ramaphosa at the top of their list or if the African National Congress has maxed out its time at the Union Buildings.

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