High school principal, Vice Chancellor at the University of Fort Hare, Secretary-General of the Inkatha Freeom Party, Minister of Education
Lives of Courage
Sibusiso Bengu was born on 8 May 1934 in Natal. He began his career as a teacher in 1952. His years of teaching culminated in the founding of Dlangezwa High School in Natal in 1969 where he was principal until 1976. He studied Political Science at the University of Geneva after which he was appointed Director of Students’ Affairs at the University of Zululand in 1977. He was later appointed Vice–Chancellor of Fort Hare University before becoming the Minister of Education 1994, a post he occupied until 1999.
Bengu served as Secretary-General of Inkatha. His belief that Inkatha should become a democratic, mass-based organisation led to clashes with Chief Mangosuthu Buthelezi and persecution by Inkatha members.
In 1978 he left South Africa and returned only in 1991. During this time, while serving as secretary for research and social action for the Lutheran World Foundation, he approached the ANC and developed a working friendship with Oliver Tambo.
The former government Minister of Education introduced Curriculum 2005, a proposal for transforming the approach of school education in South Africa. The plan was received negatively and criticised by teachers as well as opposition parties, which led to it being reviewed.