Biography: Bongi Mbonambi is a professional rugby union player who plays as a hooker for the Sharks and the South Africa national team. He is known for his hard work, resilience, and skill in the scrum and lineout.
Early Life and Family
Mbongeni Theo Mbonambi was born on 7 January 1991 in Bethlehem, in the Free State province of South Africa. His parents had a keen interest in sports, which influenced his decision to pursue a career in rugby. His father is a policeman and his mother is a nurse, and he and his siblings had a strict upbringing where they “were taught to work hard for what we want”.
The Mbonambi family are sporty. Bongi’s dad boxed and played baseball, and his mum played tennis while his brother played football and his sister netball.
He attended St. Alban’s College in Pretoria, where he excelled in rugby and represented the South Africa Schools team from 2009. He later studied at the Tshwane University of Technology.
Bongi Mbonambi Club Career
Mbonambi started his professional career at the Bulls franchise in 2012, making his Super Rugby debut against the Crusaders in Pretoria. He played for the Bulls and the Blue Bulls until 2014 when he moved to the Stormers and Western Province.
He became a regular starter for the Stormers and Western Province, winning the Currie Cup in 2017 and 2020. Mbonambi also earned praise for his performances in Super Rugby, where he was one of the top hookers in terms of tackles, turnovers, and lineout throws.
In June 2021, Mbonambi announced he would be joining the Sharks, following South Africa captain Siya Kolisi to the Durban-based team. He said that one of the reasons for his move was to prepare for life after rugby, as the Sharks empower and equip their players for their future careers.
Bongi Mbonambi represented South Africa U20 at the 2011 Junior World Championship in Italy, where the Baby Boks finished fifth.
He made his Test debut for the Springboks against Ireland in June 2016, coming off the bench to replace then-captain Adriaan Strauss. His first Test start came against Italy in November 2017, where he scored his first international try.
Mbonambi was part of the Springboks squad that won the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan, starting in four matches including the final against England. He scored two tries in the tournament against Namibia and Italy.
ALSO READ: Siya Kolisi Biography
2023 Rugby World Cup In France
Bongi Mbonambi was part of the Springboks squad that reached the final of the 2023 Rugby World Cup in France. He started in all the matches that South Africa played. Mbonambi was involved in a controversial incident in the semi-final against England when he was accused of calling England flanker Tom Curry a racist slur. He denied the allegation and said he was misunderstood. World Rugby launched an investigation into the matter.
Bongi Mbonambi Personal Life
Mbonambi is married to Anastacia Mbonambi for the past six years, and they have a daughter, Esa Khanyisile, who was born in May 2019.
He has overcome several challenges in his life, including being told he was too small to make it in professional rugby and suffering from a burst appendix that nearly ended his career in 2018. He has shown remarkable determination and courage to overcome these obstacles and achieve his dreams.
- Who is Bongi Mbonambi: Ten things you should know about the Springboks hooker – Rugby World
- Bongi Mbonambi – Ultimate Rugby
- Springbok hooker Mbonambi to leave Stormers for Sharks – France24
- Baby Boks end world championship on high note – Mail & Guardian
- Springboks in profile: Bongi Mbonambi
- South Africa’s Rugby World Cup victory means so much more – CNN
- Meet Springboks’ new captain Bongi Mbonambi’s wife – The South African
- Mbonambi: I started contemplating my career – SA Rugby Mag
- World Rugby investigates alleged racist slur by South Africa’s Mbonambi – The Guardian