Godfrey Ngwenya

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Godfrey Nhlanhla Ngwenya
Godfrey Ngwenya 100520-N-0696M-086.jpg
Born (1950-04-28)28 April 1950
Allegiance  South Africa
Service/branch South African Army
Years of service 1994 - 2011
Rank General
Commands held Chief of the South African National Defense Force (2005-2011)
Chief of Joint Operations (2001-2005)
Awards Merit Medal in Silver MMS
Legion of Merit
Other work Ambassador to Angola

General Godfrey Nhlanhla Ngwenya MMS (born 1950) was a South African military commander.

Early life[edit]

General Godfrey Ngwenya was born in Johannesburg on 28 April 1950. He attended Orlando High School, where he matriculated in 1970. He joined the ANC and the ANC's Military Wing, Umkhonto we Sizwe (MK), at the height of the student uprisings in South Africa in 1976. While in exile he underwent military training in Angola and passed his further commanders' courses in the then German Democratic Republic and the Soviet Union.

Military career[edit]

He joined Umkhonto weSizwe (MK), the military wing of the African National Congress, in 1976, and commanded MK forces in Angola from 1983 to 1989. He transferred to the South African National Defence Force when MK was incorporated into it in 1994 and he was appointed as Major General and served as Deputy General Officer Commanding of Witwatersrand Command in Johannesburg from 1994 to 1996.

From 1996 to 1998 he was General Officer Commanding of North West Command in Potchefstroom and from 1998 to the end of September 1999 Chief Director Force Preparation in the Army Office. He served as Deputy Chief of Joint Operations from 1 October 1999 to 31 December 2000. He was promoted to the rank of Lt Gen on 1 January 2001 and appointed as Chief of Joint Operations to 2005,[1] when he was promoted to Chief of the SANDF.[2]

Awards and Decorations[edit]

In May 2010 Gen. Ngwenya was awarded the Legion of Merit by then Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen[3]

In addition, he has been awarded the following medals and decorations:[4]

  • Gold Star for Bravery (GSB)
  • Decoration for Merit in Gold (DMG)
  • Merit Medal in Silver (MMS)
  • South Africa Service Medal
  • Operational Medal for Southern Africa
  • General Service Medal
  • Unitas Medal
  • Tshumelo Ikatelaho
  • Bar to the Medalje vir Troue Diens (30yrs)
  • Service Medal Silver
  • Service Medal Bronze
  • Maluti Clasp

Ambassador to Angola[edit]

After this retirement from the SANDF General Ngwenya was appointed Ambassador to Angola[5]


See also[edit]

Military offices
Preceded by
Gen Siphiwe Nyanda
Chief of the South African National Defence Force
2005 – 2011
Succeeded by
Gen Solly Shoke
Preceded by
Deon Ferreira
Chief of Joint Operations
2000 - 2005
Succeeded by
Sipho Binda