Professor Bundy was an influential member of a generation of historians who substantially revised understanding of South African history. In particular, he wrote on South Africa's rural past from a predominantly Marxist perspective, but also deploying Africanist and underdevelopment theories.  Since the mid-1990s, however, Bundy has held a series of posts in university administration. Professor Bundy is also a trustee of the Canon Collins Educational & Legal Assistance Trust.
Bundy was educated at the University of Natal (B.A.) and the University of the Witwatersrand (B.A. (Hons)). He was then a Rhodes Scholar at Merton College, Oxford (1968-70) and a Beit Senior Research Scholar at St Antony's (1970-72), graduating as an M.Phil. and D.Phil of the University of Oxford with a thesis entitled African peasants and economic change in South Africa, 1870-1913, with particular reference to the Cape (1976).
Bundy was Director and Principal of the School of Oriental and African Studies (2001-06); Deputy Vice Chancellor of the University of London (2003-06); Vice Chancellor and Principal of the University of the Witwatersrand (1997-2001); and Director of the Institute for Historical Research (1992-94) and Vice Rector (1994-97), University of the Western Cape.
He returned to Oxford as a Research Fellow at Queen Elizabeth House (1979-80) and in the Department for External Studies (1980-84), subsequently being elected an Honorary Fellow of Kellogg College. From 2006 until 2008 he was Warden of Green College, Oxford, becoming the first Principal of Green Templeton College on 1 October 2008, when Green College merged with Templeton College. He retired from this position on 1 October 2010.
His publications include
- 'Land and Liberation: The South African National Liberation Movements and the Agrarian Question, 1920s-1960s', Review of African Political Economy 11:29 (Summer 1984), 14-29
- History, revolution, and South Africa (Cape Town: University of Cape Town, 1987)
- Remaking the Past: New Perspectives in South African History (Cape Town: University of Cape Town, 1987)
- (with William Beinart) Hidden struggles in rural South Africa: politics & popular movements in the Transkei & Eastern Cape 1890-1930 (London: Currey; Berkeley: University of California Press; Johannesburg: Ravan Press, 1987)
- The rise and fall of the South African peasantry (London: Heinemann, 1979; 2nd edn., Cape Town: David Philip; London: Currey, 1988)
- The History of the South African Communist Party (Cape Town: Department of Adult Education and Extra-Mural Studies, University of Cape Town, 1991)
|Vice-Chancellor of the University of the Witwatersrand
1997 — 2001
|Principal of Green Templeton College, Oxford
2008 — 2010
Sir David Watson
- Guardian profile, 2004
- Talk by Bundy on Globalisation and universities, 1999
- Talk by Bundy on education in South Africa, 2003
- Article by Bundy on truth and reconciliation in South Africa, 1999
- Two-part video of Professor Bundy discussing the implications of the collapse of the Soviet Union on the prospects for global Marxist revolution. Part One Part Two