Bongi Bengu was born in Eshowe, KwaZulu-Natal, but grew up in exile in Geneva, Switzerland where she finished high school. She returned to the African continent and lived in Swaziland for a while. She subsequently enrolled at the Mount Vernon College in Washington DC and obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree there. She then went on to complete a Master’s degree in Fine Arts with The University of Cape Town.
She has received awards and scholarships from Mount Vernon College, Washington DC, Standard Bank South Africa, The University of Cape Town, and The National Museum of African Art Washington DC.
She exhibited in “SA Art 21 Years after Democracy'' at the Durban Art Gallery, and “Identity-Cohesion” at the Grahamstown Festival. She has also exhibited at the Harlem Arts Festival Chicago, and Friends Stuttgart, in Germany. In 2007 she participated in “Possibilities” in Mumbai, India. Other exhibitions include “A decade of Democracy: Witnessing South African Art” in Boston Massachusetts USA, “Ten Years of Freedom Contemporary South African Art” in Georgia USA, and many more in Berlin, London, Switzerland, and across the United States.
She has been granted residencies in Kenya; Ghana; Switzerland; USA; UK; Kenya and Zambia all at prestigious institutions.