- Fall 2015
Lindiwe Mazibuko was born in Manzini, Swaziland and raised in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. She was educated at St Mary's Diocesan School for Girls, where she matriculated in 1997. From there she pursued a Bachelor of Music degree at the University of KwaZulu - Natal, followed by the University of Cape Town, where she obtained a Bachelor of Arts (French, Classics, Media & Writing) in 2006 and a BA Honours (Political Communication) in 2007.
After completing her post- graduate degree Mazibuko took up a post as a researcher in the parliamentary office of South Africa’s Official Opposition party, the Democratic Alliance (DA). She was appointed the party's national media liaison in 2008 ahead of the South African General Elections the following year.
Lindiwe also decided to run for election as a Member of Parliament in 2008 - the fourth youngest candidate to do so in South Africa that year. She was elected to Parliament in April 2009, where she was also appointed the DA’s National Spokesperson and Shadow Deputy Minister for Communications. In 2010 she was appointed to the DA Shadow Cabinet as Shadow Minister of Rural Development and Land Reform.
In 2011, at the age of 32, Lindiwe took the decision to run for election to the post of DA Parliamentary Leader and Leader of the Official Opposition in South Africa's National Assembly. Her principal platforms were better representation for South Africa’s increasingly youthful electorate and revitalizing the country’s stagnating parliamentary processes.
She was confident that her youth - relative to the age of the vast majority of her colleagues - would be one of her greatest advantages, since a Parliament that sought to represent millions of young people in a young democracy could not be dominated only by a much older generation of MPs. A revitalized Parliament would also be platform upon which the DA could build not only on its record as an outstanding parliamentary opposition party, but also as South Africa’s next government in waiting.
In October 2011, Mazibuko was elected DA Parliamentary Leader and Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly by her peers in the party’s 83-person caucus, making her the DA’s youngest ever parliamentary leader and the first black woman in South African history to be elected to the post of Leader of the Opposition.
Soon after being sworn into office, Mazibuko committed herself and her team to making Parliament the true centre of robust political debate and engagement in South Africa.
In May 2014, at the end of her term and following a successful electoral campaign in which the DA grew its share of the national vote from 16% in 2009 to 22%, Mazibuko announced that she would be taking a sabbatical from active politics. She received a Master of Public Administration (MPA) from Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government as a John F. Kennedy Fellow and Edward S. Mason Fellow.
During her time in office, Mazibuko served on the following executive structures of the Democratic Alliance (DA):
- Member of the 5-person DA National Management Committee (NMC)
- Member of the DA Federal Executive
- Member of the DA Federal Council
- Member of the DA National Policy Committee
- Member of the DA KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Executive Committee
Read her study group outline How to Build a Democracy: Lessons from South Africa.