Navigation Icon


Bonginkosi Emmanuel Nzimande

Minister of Transport, Republic of South Africa

Dr. Bonginkosi Emmanuel Nzimande was born in Edendale near Pietermaritzburg, on 14 April 1958 and is a South African politician and Minister of Transport. He was the Minister for Higher Education and Training from 2009 to 2017. He has been the General Secretary of the South African Communist Party since 1998. He has a doctorate degree in philosophy specialising in sociology. He came out strongly against proposals for nationalisation at the COSATU conference in June 2011, stating that it is not "inherently progressive" as it depended on which class interests were being advanced. Dr Nzimande attended the Roman Catholic School, Henryville, and then Plessiers Lower Primary School before going to Mthethomusha School in Edendale, the first school in the area established under the new Bantu education system. He matriculated in 1975 at Georgetown High, Edendale. While at school participated in youth clubs which were gatherings for cultural and sporting events, and were not particularly political in nature. He first became politically aware when Harry Gwala was released from Robben Island prison in 1973 and this was widely discussed in his community. He completed his Psychology Honours degree at the University of Natal, Pietermaritzburg, in 1980. His master's degree is in Industrial Psychology (1981) and later he was awarded a PhD from the same university for a thesis titled "The corporate guerrillas": class formation and the African corporate petty bourgeoisie in post-1973 South Africa" in the field of Sociology. In 1976 Dr Nzimande enrolled at the University of Zululand to study towards a BA degree, majoring in Public Administration and Psychology. He became involved in student activity, including a food boycott and demonstrations against the award of an honorary doctorate to Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi in May 1976. During that time the Black Consciousness Movement-oriented South African Students' Organization (SASO) was prominent on campus, but Dr Nzimande's political views later shifted towards the Congress Alliance. Following the shooting of demonstrating students in Soweto on 16 June 1976, the administration building of the university was burnt down and the university subsequently closed down for a period. Dr Nzimande returned to university in 1977 and completed his degree in 1979. After graduating, he returned to Edendale and joined the Azanian Students’ Organisation (Azaso) which eventually broke away from the Black Consciousness Movement (BCM), aligning itself with the Congress or Charterist tendency. For Dr Nzimande the shift from BCM to the Chartersist position was facilitated by weekly Zulu broadcasts from Radio Freedom and Radio Moscow. In this way he and his colleagues became acquainted with the policy of the African National Congress (ANC) and they started to receive underground ANC documents. While active in Azaso Dr Nzimande completed his Honours and master's degrees.