Tshepo Motsepe is known as the wife of President Cyril Ramaphosa. However, the SA first lady is definitely not just a trophy wife. Tshepo, who is the sister of local billionaire Patrice Motsepe, is a doctor and businesswoman.
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The mom of four, who turns 69 on 17 June, proves that behind every successful man is a strong, accomplished woman.
Briefly News took a detailed look into the life of the SA first lady.
From village to villas, Dr Tshepo's rise from humble beginnings
President Ramaphosa's missus was born on 17 June, 1953, in Soweto. According to the South African government, she grew up in the rural villages of Mathibestad near Hammanskraal.
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The physician is the eldest of seven children, including billionaire mining magnate Patrice Motsepe and Bridgette Radebe - the wife of former minister of energy, Jeff Radebe.
Not just the first lady
Dr Tshepo Motsepe is a well-educated woman and her success in her chosen profession is not overshadowed by her marital status to the SA head of state.
The 57-year-old obtained a Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery from the University of KwaZulu-Natal. She also holds a Master of Public Health in Maternal Child Health and Aging which she obtained from the Harvard School of Public Health.
Dr Tshepo also completed a Social Entrepreneurship Certificate Programme at the Gordon Institute of Business Science (GIBS), according to her profile on the presidency's website.
Even though she is married to a successful businessman and politician, Dr Tshepo wanted to succeed on her own. She worked as a medical doctor in hospitals including amongst them, Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital in South Africa and Parirenyatwa Hospital in Zimbabwe - both of which are the largest in their respective countries.
Dr Tshepo also has experience in private practice and she has done humanitarian work with her husband and their foundation.
Some of her projects have shown that Dr Tshepo's focus is on bettering the lives of women and children. Amongst others, Dr Tshepo is part of the South African Civil Society for Women’s, Adolescents’ and Children’s Health (SACSoWACH), as well as the Early Care Foundation.
Mr and Mrs Ramaphosa - a love story spanning over two decades
President Cyril Ramaphosa and Dr Tshepo Motsepe have been married for 25 years. It appears that President Ramaphosa and his wife prefer to keep the details about their relationship private. Even though it is known they were married in 1996, there is no information on how they met.
Third time's the charm
Dr Tshepo and the SA head of state might be going strong but she isn't Ramaphosa's first wife. In fact, the billionaire was married twice before finding his forever love in Dr Tshepo.
In 1978, President Ramaphosa married a woman named Hope. The couple was married for just over a decade before getting a divorce in 1989 and they share a son, Andile, together.
Two years after his first failed married, the businessman tied the knot to his second wife, Nomazizi Mtshotshisa. However, the couple was not even married for three years before calling it quits in 1993. Ramaphosa was blessed with another child, Tulisa, during his second marriage to Nomazizi.
In 1996, the head of state said "I do" to Dr Tshepo and they have been together ever since. They have four children together, according to Buzz South Africa.
A supportive wife, even after Ramaphosa cheated
Dr Tshepo has been the picture of a devoted and supportive wife, even after news broke that President Ramaphosa has been unfaithful.
According to News24, Dr Tshepo reacted to the reports by assuring Mzansi that she and her hubby were happily married despite his past infidelity.
In 2017, news outlets reported on Ramaphosa's alleged extramarital affairs after several students accused him of giving them money in return for sexual favours.
Ramaphosa denied being a blesser, adding it was troubling that these young ladies accused him of wanting intercourse in exchange for money, especially since he and his wife were offering financial assistance to over 50 students at the time.
“I do feel compelled, however, to respond to deeply disturbing suggestions that I paid money to several young women with whom I was supposedly in relationships. There are 54 young students – both men and women – that my wife and I provide financial assistance to on a monthly basis and have done so for several years.
“It is unfortunate that evidence of these bank transfers have been used to make scandalous allegations against me and, worse, to make public the names of some of the people assisted. We find it disturbing that the privacy of these young women has been violated through the publication of their names and pictures on social media. It shows a callous disregard for the rights of the individual."
However, despite denying the particular rumours, Ramaphosa did admit to cheating on Dr Tshepo in the past. The then-deputy president revealed he had an affair in 2009, but added he admitted it to his wife and broke it off. They seemingly managed to move past it and their relationship has been strong ever since.
Living life large even before becoming the country's first family
It is no secret that Ramaphosa was successful even before becoming SA's president. In fact, in some ways, he could be seen as Mzansi's version of Donald Trump - a billionaire who becomes the most powerful man in the country. The SA head of state is said to be worth a whopping R6.4 billion and although they don't live flashy lifestyles, the Ramaphosas are surely enjoying life.
The couple shares a home, which Ramaphosa built on two plots of prime land under Lion's Head, that he bought in 2010 for a staggering R30 million.
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Source: Briefly News