Polls have opened in South Africa with the leaders of the three main parties vying for votes in a race that could test the ruling ANC's long-held dominance.
Here is a look at the three:
The shrewd president
Cyril Ramaphosa, the leader of the ruling ANC party, took the country's reins last year after a dramatic and varied career intertwined with the birth of modern South Africa.
He was a pioneering young trade union leader, an anti-apartheid activist, and a Nelson Mandela protege who led talks to end white-minority rule and helped write the new constitution.
When Mandela walked out of jail in 1990,
But after missing out on becoming Mandela's successor as president, Ramaphosa instead became a hugely wealthy businessman through stakes in McDonalds, Coca-Cola, mining and telecommunications, and developing a taste for breeding rare cattle.
In 2012, his image was badly tarnished when police killed 34 striking workers at the Marikana platinum mine, operated by London-listed Lonmin, where he was then a non-executive director.
Ramaphosa had called for a crackdown on the strikers, whom he accused of "dastardly criminal" behaviour.
He returned to politics to become Jacob Zuma's vice president in 2014, often drawing criticism for failing to speak out against corruption and government mismanagement.
Renowned for his patience and strategic thinking, Ramaphosa narrowly beat off pro-Zuma rivals to take over the leadership of the ANC in 2017 and then claim the presidency when Zuma was forced out last year.
Ramaphosa's support base crosses South Africa's racial and class divides, but he still faces strong opposition from factions within the ANC.
"This is a decisive moment in our country, in the history of South Africa, this is a moment when... we choose hope over despair," he told supporters at the ANC's final campaign rally.
Born in Johannesburg's Soweto township, Ramaphosa took up activism while studying law in the 1970s, and spent 11 months in solitary confinement in 1974.