Famous South African Political Leaders

Find out more about the greatest South African Political Leaders, including Nelson Mandela, Cecil Rhodes, Jacob Zuma, Tokyo Sexwale and Thabo Mbeki.

This ranking is based on an algorithm that combines various factors, including the votes of our users and search trends on the internet.

Vote for Your Favourite South African Political Leaders

 1 Cyril Ramaphosa

Cyril Ramaphosa
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Famous As: President of South Africa
Birthdate: November 17, 1952
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Nationality: South African

Cyril Ramaphosa is a politician and the current president of South Africa. Also the president of South Africa's popular political party African National Congress (ANC), Ramaphosa played a key role during the nation's transition to democracy during which he served as ANC's chief negotiator. He also played a crucial role in ending apartheid and was considered Nelson Mandela's political heir.

 2 Jacob Zuma

Jacob Zuma
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Famous As: Fourth President of South Africa
Birthdate: April 12, 1942
Sun Sign: Aries
Nationality: South African

Jacob Zuma is a South African politician and fourth president of South Africa. During his presidency, which lasted from 2009 to 2018, Zuma was accused of racketeering and corruption which ultimately led to his resignation. Apart from being a politician, Zuma also runs the Jacob Zuma Foundation, which aims at building houses for the poor and sending children to school.

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 3 Winnie Madikizela-Mandela

Winnie Madikizela-Mandela
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Famous As: Politician, Anti-Apartheid Activist
Birthdate: September 26, 1936
Sun Sign: Libra
Nationality: South African
Died: April 2, 2018
Winnie Madikizela-Mandela had first met legendary anti-apartheid activist Nelson Mandela at a bus stop when she was barely 22. They ended up getting married the following year. Winnie’s journey was marred by bans and harassment by the South African government, but the determined social worker revolutionized South African politics.

 4 F. W. de Klerk

F. W. de Klerk
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Famous As: Former State President of South Africa
Birthdate: March 18, 1936
Sun Sign: Pisces
Nationality: South African
F. W. de Klerk served as the State President of South Africa from 1989 to 1994 and as the Deputy President from 1994 to 1996. He was also the National Party leader from 1989 to 1997. His government helped crush the apartheid system and established universal suffrage. 

 5 Thabo Mbeki

Thabo Mbeki
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Famous As: Politician, Economist
Birthdate: June 18, 1942
Sun Sign: Gemini
Nationality: South African

 6 Julius Malema

Julius Malema
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Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: March 3, 1981
Sun Sign: Pisces
Nationality: South African

 7 Jan Smuts

Jan Smuts
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Famous As: Botanist, Officer, Lawyer
Birthdate: May 24, 1870
Sun Sign: Gemini
Nationality: South African
Died: September 11, 1950
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 8 Paul Kruger

Paul Kruger
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Famous As: President of South Africa
Birthdate: October 10, 1825
Sun Sign: Libra
Nationality: South African
Died: July 14, 1904

Paul Kruger was a South African politician who served as the last State President of the South African Republic. Revered by his admirers as a tragic folk hero, Kruger was one of the most influential military and political personalities in 19th-century South Africa. His life inspired the 1941 German film Ohm Krüger, in which Kruger was played by Emil Jannings.

 9 P. W. Botha

P. W. Botha
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Famous As: Former Prime Minister of South Africa
Birthdate: January 12, 1916
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Nationality: South African
Died: October 31, 2006
Better known as PW, Pieter Willem Botha had been the president and prime minister of South Africa. A law school drop-out, Botha grew up to unsuccessfully attempt a reconciliation between apartheid sympathizers and all-Black student and labor organizations. His refusal to testify before the TRC invited a fine.

 10 Hendrik Verwoerd

Hendrik Verwoerd
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Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: September 8, 1901
Sun Sign: Virgo
Nationality: South African
Died: September 6, 1966

South African prime minister Hendrik Verwoerd was immensely infamous for promoting racial segregation and came to be known as one of the pioneers of apartheid. He was stabbed to death in his parliament office by a Mozambican immigrant who was thought to be insane but was a racially disadvantaged man.

 11 Oliver Tambo

Oliver Tambo
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Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: October 27, 1917
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Nationality: South African
Died: April 24, 1993

 12 Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma

Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma
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Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: January 27, 1949
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Nationality: South African

 13 Kgalema Motlanthe

Kgalema Motlanthe
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Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: July 19, 1949
Sun Sign: Cancer
Nationality: South African

 14 Chris Hani

Chris Hani
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Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: June 28, 1942
Sun Sign: Cancer
Nationality: South African
Died: April 10, 1993

 15 Eugène Ney Terre'Blanche

Eugène Ney Terre'Blanche
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Famous As: Police officer
Birthdate: January 31, 1941
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Nationality: South African
Died: April 3, 2010

 16 Mangosuthu Buthelezi

Mangosuthu Buthelezi
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Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: August 27, 1928
Sun Sign: Virgo
Nationality: South African

 17 Tokyo Sexwale

Tokyo Sexwale
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Famous As: Politician, Businessperson
Birthdate: March 5, 1953
Sun Sign: Pisces
Nationality: South African

 18 Walter Sisulu

Walter Sisulu
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Famous As: Activist
Birthdate: May 18, 1912
Sun Sign: Taurus
Nationality: South African
Died: May 5, 2003

 19 Helen Zille

Helen Zille
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Famous As: Politician, Journalist
Birthdate: March 9, 1951
Sun Sign: Pisces
Nationality: South African

 20 Ahmed Kathrada

Ahmed Kathrada
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Famous As: Politician, Activism
Birthdate: August 21, 1929
Sun Sign: Leo
Nationality: South African
Died: March 28, 2017

 21 Joe Slovo

Joe Slovo
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Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: May 23, 1926
Sun Sign: Gemini
Nationality: South African
Died: January 6, 1995

 22 Ela Gandhi

Ela Gandhi
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Famous As: politician
Birthdate: June 1, 1940
Sun Sign: Gemini
Nationality: South African

 23 Zindzi Mandela

Zindzi Mandela
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Famous As: Diplomat
Birthdate: December 23, 1960
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Nationality: South African
Died: July 13, 2020

 24 Baleka Mbete

Baleka Mbete
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Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: September 24, 1949
Sun Sign: Libra
Nationality: South African

 25 Marais Viljoen

Marais Viljoen
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Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: December 2, 1915
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Nationality: South African
Died: January 4, 2007

 26 Pik Botha

Pik Botha
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Famous As: Politician, Diplomat
Birthdate: April 27, 1932
Sun Sign: Taurus
Nationality: South African

 27 Mandla Mandela

Mandla Mandela
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Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: June 21, 1974
Sun Sign: Gemini
Nationality: South African

 28 Ruth First

Ruth First
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Famous As: Author, Politician, University teacher, Writer, Journalist, Martyr, Political activist
Birthdate: May 4, 1925
Sun Sign: Taurus
Nationality: South African
Died: August 17, 1982

 29 Trevor Manuel

Trevor Manuel
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Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: January 31, 1956
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Nationality: South African

 30 Helen Suzman

Helen Suzman
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Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: November 7, 1917
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Nationality: South African
Died: January 1, 2009

 31 Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka
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Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: November 3, 1955
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Nationality: South African

 32 Blade Nzimande

Blade Nzimande
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Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: April 14, 1958
Sun Sign: Aries
Nationality: South African

 33 Andries Pretorius

Andries Pretorius
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Famous As: Explorer
Birthdate: November 27, 1798
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Nationality: South African
Died: July 23, 1853

 34 Govan Mbeki

Govan Mbeki
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Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: July 9, 1910
Sun Sign: Cancer
Nationality: South African
Died: August 30, 2001

 35 Sol Plaatje

Sol Plaatje
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Famous As: Journalist
Birthdate: October 9, 1876
Sun Sign: Libra
Nationality: South African
Died: June 19, 1932

 36 Mac Jack

Mac Jack
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Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: March 8, 1965
Sun Sign: Pisces
Nationality: South African
Died: August 12, 2020

 37 John Vorster

John Vorster
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Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: December 13, 1915
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Nationality: South African
Died: September 10, 1983

 38 Magnus Malan

Magnus Malan
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Famous As: Military General
Birthdate: January 30, 1930
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Nationality: South African
Died: July 18, 2011

 39 Christiaan de Wet

Christiaan de Wet
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Famous As: General
Birthdate: October 7, 1854
Sun Sign: Libra
Nationality: South African
Died: February 3, 1922

 40 Navi Pillay

Navi Pillay
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Famous As: Judge, Lawyer
Birthdate: September 23, 1941
Sun Sign: Virgo
Nationality: South African

 41 John Langalibalele Dube

John Langalibalele Dube
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Famous As: Essayist
Birthdate: February 22, 1871
Sun Sign: Pisces
Nationality: South African
Died: February 11, 1946

 42 Manto Tshabalala-Msimang

Manto Tshabalala-Msimang
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Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: October 9, 1940
Sun Sign: Libra
Nationality: South African
Died: December 16, 2009

 43 Khama III

Khama III
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Famous As: Tribal Chief
Birthdate: 1837 AD
Nationality: South African
Died: February 21, 1923

 44 D. F. Malan

D. F. Malan
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Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: May 22, 1874
Sun Sign: Gemini
Nationality: South African
Died: February 7, 1959

 45 Piet Cronjé

Piet Cronjé
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Famous As: Military General
Birthdate: October 4, 1836
Sun Sign: Libra
Nationality: South African
Died: February 4, 1911

 46 Allan Boesak

Allan Boesak
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Famous As: Clergyman
Birthdate: February 23, 1946
Sun Sign: Pisces
Nationality: South African

 47 Marthinus Theunis Steyn

Marthinus Theunis Steyn
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Famous As: President of Orange Free State
Birthdate: October 2, 1857
Sun Sign: Libra
Nationality: South African
Died: November 28, 1916

 48 Piet Joubert

Piet Joubert
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Famous As: General
Birthdate: January 20, 1831
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Nationality: South African
Died: March 28, 1900

 49 Andries Treurnicht

Andries Treurnicht
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Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: February 19, 1921
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Nationality: South African
Died: April 22, 1993

 50 Adelaide Tambo

Adelaide Tambo
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Famous As: Political figure
Birthdate: July 18, 1929
Sun Sign: Cancer
Nationality: South African
Died: January 31, 2007