Rudzani Maphwanya biography, age, profile, qualifications, medals

Rudzani Maphwanya (born on 23 November 1960 in Limpopo) is a top-ranking South African army officer. He served his fatherland under the position of Chief of Joint Operations for two years (2019-2021).

He was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant General as General Officer Commanding the SA Army Infantry Formation. 

In April 2021, he was appointed to serve as the Chief of the South African National Defence Force. Following the appointment by President Cyril Ramaphosa, he will assume office on June 1, 2021.


Rudzani Maphwanya biography
President Cyril Ramaphosa names Lt-Gen Rudzani Maphwanya as new SANDF Chief. Photo by MyBroadband.
NameRudzani Maphwanyaverification badge
Born23 November 1960 (age 60 years)
Limpopo, South Africa
NationalitySouth African
EducationB Com Degree
Total Quality Management
Strategic Management
Security Management
Alma materUniversity of Limpopo
University of South Africa
University of Pretoria
Wits University
RankLieutenant General
AllegianceSouth Africa
ServiceSouth African Army


His date of birth is on 23 November 1960 and the place of birth is in Limpopo, South Africa. Rudzani Maphwanya is 60 years old. He was raised and had his matriculation in the birthplace.

Later he joined the military wing of the African National Congress Umkhonto we Sizwe (MK).

His career in the MK military spanned for 16 years (1978-1994). Then he integrated into the South African National Defence Force in 1994.


He completed several military courses up. Rudzani’s final military course, the Executive National Security Programme.

In 1994, he obtained his B Com Degree from the University of the North, now the University of Limpopo.

He also holds a certificate in Total Quality Management from the University of South Africa (UNISA) in 2003.

Maphwanya completed a Strategic Management Programme in 2005 at the University of Pretoria.

At Wits University, he received a Post Graduate Diploma in Security Management in 2012. He is also a Masters of Management degree holder which he obtained from the Wits University in 2015.


The notable military personality has been of service under several notable positions. He has also been in countries across the borders of South Africa to serve.

Rudzani was of service in the MK in Angola and joined the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) in 1994. 

Maphwanya served in various notable positions including SO1 Operations and SSO Operations SF Bde.

He also served as Chief of Staff Special Forces Brigade for two years (2003-2005). 

In 2006, he began to serve as General Officer Commanding the South African Special Forces. He remained in the position for a decade until 2016.

Following an appointment in November 2019, he occupied the position of SANDF Chief Joint Operations.


His effort to be of service to the country has earned him recognition. Rudzani Maphwanya has received several medals for his loyal service and others.

  • Southern Cross Medal (SM)
  • Military Merit Medal (MMM)
  • Unitas Medal
  • Medalje vir Troue Diens (Medal for Loyal Service with 30 Year Clasp)
  • Good Service Medal, Silver (20 Years)
  • Service Medal in Bronze


In April 2021, he made headlines after President Cyril Ramaphosa appointed him to fill the position of head of the SANDF. He will be replacing the outgoing General Solly Shoke.

Once he assumes office on 1 June, Maphwanya will be promoted to the rank of General.

The president described Rudzani as a “highly decorated officer with vast operational experience. He will occupy the position and serve a term of five years.

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