Ramaphosa, Semenya make Time’s 100 influential people list

President Cyril Ramaphosa, File photo: ANA/Karen Sandison

President Cyril Ramaphosa, File photo: ANA/Karen Sandison

The famed list is released annually and features pioneers, icons, leaders, and artists from across the globe. 

President Cyril Ramaphosa and Olympic champion Caster Semenya are among Time’s 100 influential people in the world for this year.

The famed list is released annually and features pioneers, icons, leaders and artists from across the globe.

Ramaphosa is featured in the leaders category along with US President Donald Trump, US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Pope Francis and Chinese President Xi Jinping, among others.

Time described Ramaphosa as having ”perfected the art of patience.”

”Raised in the township of Soweto, he honed his political skills helping his country navigate its way out of apartheid. Then, when he was sidelined for the presidency in the 1990s, he harnessed his cunning and gregariousness to make a vast fortune in business, while his rivals sank the country into dysfunction and cronyism.”

”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,” Time said, adding that electricity blackouts, grinding poverty and massive unemployment had left millions desperate for quick results.

It said vicious infighting in his African National Congress party left Ramaphosa vulnerable to a coup, or perhaps an ouster in elections on May 8.

“For all that, Ramaphosa has kept his characteristic chuckle and his knack for focusing on the bigger picture,” said Time, noting that the South African president had said recently that unity “was never going to happen overnight.”

“After a lifetime fighting his enemies, he should know,” it said.

Ramaphosa was elected ANC president in December 2017 and took over from Jacob Zuma as the country’s leader in early 2018 after the latter, who had been president since 2009, was forced to resign ahead of this year’s national elections amid allegations of corruption.

The magazine listed Semenya as an icon, saying South Africa’s favourite sports star had taught the world that ”sex isn’t always binary, and caused us to question the justness of distributing societal benefits according to “male” and “female” classifications.”

Semenya is fighting proposals by the International Association of Athletics Federations that aim to restrict female athletes’ acceptable testosterone levels in the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Geneva, Switzerland. The court will deliver its ruling at the end of this month.

”Sport eligibility, she and others say, should not be based on hormone levels or other differences of sex development. If successful, Semenya’s effort could open the door for all who identify as women to compete in track events without having to first medically lower their testosterone levels below a proposed limit,” Time said.

“Ultimately, this incredibly difficult issue is a political one for sport to resolve. But however it is addressed, Semenya will have already made a singular historical contribution to our understanding of biological sex.”

– African News Agency (ANA)

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