Since 1994, South Africa has had five presidents who have varied greatly in style and character, despite all coming from the same political party. How do they compare? How did they handle the crises they faced? What effect did they have on the country? As the ANC’s next elective conference approaches and Cyril Ramaphosa seeks a second term as president, the country is reeling from the effects of state capture and the Covid-19 pandemic. Coupled with an ailing economy and record unemployment, the need for good political leadership to steer us through the morass is more urgent than ever. It is, therefore, a perfect time to think critically about the role that presidential leadership plays in our lives and in history. To this end, The Presidents provides an honest assessment of the five post-democracy presidents – Mandela, Mbeki, Motlanthe, Zuma and Ramaphosa – examining their strongest qualities and greatest weaknesses in the context of the momentous challenges they faced.