Rudzani Maphwanya was born on 23 November 1960 in the Limpopo Province of South Africa. He completed his secondary schooling at the Mphaphuli High School in Limpopo in 1978 and shortly thereafter joined Umkhonto we Sizwe (MK), the military wing of the African National Congress.
Maphwanya’s MK military career spanned from 1978 to 1994 during which time he had trained at various institutions on the African continent and abroad. Maphwanya was officially integrated into the South African National Defence Force in 1994. To add, he completed his Junior Command and Staff Course at the Zimbabwe Staff College in 1993.
He furthered his military training by having completed an array of formative and promotional courses. Maphwanya completed his Senior Command and Staff Course at the Kenyan Staff College in 2000. The final military course that Maphwanya completed was the Executive National Security Programme in 2004.
Maphwanya held various positions in the South African National Defence Force from 1994 to present day. He was assigned to A Company at the 1 South African Infantry Battalion after completion of the Bridging Training 1995 and later transferred to the Far North Command Headquarters in Musina where he served as a Company Commander over the period 1995 to 1996. Additionally, he served as Staff Officer Class 2 Operations, Monitoring and Evaluation and Training at the same institution over the period 1997 to 1999.
In 1999 Maphwanya was transferred to the South African Special Forces Brigade where he was appointed as Staff Officer Class 1 Operations, Monitoring and Evaluation until 2001. In 2002 to 2003 he was appointed as Senior Staff Officer Operations Monitoring and Evaluation and shortly thereafter served as the Chief of Staff of the South African Special Forces over the period 2003 to 2005.
Whilst serving in the Chief of Staff position, he attended and completed the Executive National Security Programme at the South African National Defence College in 2004. He was appointed as General Officer Commanding of the South African Special Forces in 2006 and served in the position until 2016 when he was appointed and promoted to the rank of Major General as General Officer Commanding of the South African Army Infantry Formation.
In November of 2019, Maphwanya was appointed as Chief of Joint Operations and subsequently promoted to the rank of Lieutenant General.
Following the appointments of the new Military Command members as announced by the President of the Republic of South Africa, President Ramaphosa occasioned by the retirement of some General Officers in the SANDF, Maphwanya is appointed as the Chief of the South African National Defence Force with effect from 1 June 2021 and promoted to the rank of General.
Lieutenant General Maphwanya obtained his Bachelor of Commerce Degree in 1994 at the University of the North and a Certificate in Total Quality Management in 2003 at the University of South Africa (UNISA). In 2005 he also completed the Strategic Management Programme at the University of Pretoria; completed a Post Graduate Diploma in Security Management at the University of the Witwatersrand (WITS) in 2012 and subsequently completed a Master of Management degree at the University of the Witwatersrand (WITS) in 2015.
Maphwanya is married to Masindi Mulayo Maphwanya and has a son and a daughter.