Jeannette Ndhlovu was born on 2nd October 1953 in Johannesburg, Transvaal (now Gauteng Province). Ndhlovu obtained her primary and secondary education in South Africa and completed half of her tertiary education at the University of Zululand before she went into exile.
Jeannette and her two sisters, Thandi and Granny, left the country following the 1976 Students’ Uprising, which culminated in the shooting of their brother, Hastings. Before her departure, Ndhlovu was actively involved in the underground activities of the African National Congress (ANC). She was responsible for recruiting and transporting students to Swaziland to join the ANC and its military wing, Umkhonto We Sizwe (MK). In 1977 Ndhlovu went to the United States of America (USA) to strengthen the anti-apartheid student movement and also to pursue her academic career. She enrolled at the University of Missouri where she obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science in 1983. She later completed a degree in Public Administration at the University of Missouri-Columbia.
Ndhlovu joined the Observer Mission of the ANC to the United Nations in 1987 until her departure from the USA in 1994. While attached to the United Nations Observer Mission, she managed to obtain a MA degree from the New York University in Counselling Psychology. She addressed church, civic, labour and elected officials throughout the country. In 1994 Ndhlovu left the USA for South Africa, where she served on the Management team of the newly set-up Independent Electoral Commission (IEC).
In September 2000 she was appointed Deputy Permanent Representative to the United Nations. She also served on the Bureau of the World Summit for Sustainable Development as an ex-officio member. She has a passion for human rights, particularly the rights of women and children; it is no wonder that she led South Africa’s New York delegation to the Commission of Human Rights in Geneva, where she devotedly advocated these rights.
In October 2004, Ndhlovu was appointed as Consul-General of the Republic of South Africa in Los Angeles, USA.