Nolulamo (Lulu) Nobambiswano Gwagwa completed a Bachelor of Arts at the University Of Fort Hare. She proceeded to the University of Natal’s Planning School where she completed her Masters in Town and Regional Planning. From there Lulu went to the London School of Economics and Political Science where she graduated cum laude with an M.Sc. (Social Policy & Planning). She then obtained a PhD from University College London. The early years of Dr Gwagwa’s career (1981-85) focused mainly on physical planning. In 1986 she joined the Built Environment Support Group, an NGO based at the University of Natal, where they supported communities in townships and squatter settlements with their housing and related struggles.
After studying abroad, Dr Gwagwa took up a position in 1992 a senior lecturer at the University of Natal’s Department of Town and Regional Planning. While there she served on a 12 member Commission for the Delineation and Demarcation of Provincial Boundaries, which decided on the country’s current provincial boundaries.
She is currently the Chief Executive Officer of Lereko Investments, a black-owned investment company, and one of the principals in the Lereko Metier Capital Growth Fund. Dr Gwagwa also serves as non-executive director of FirstRand, Massmart and Sun International. She is also the Chairperson of Aurecon Africa. She recently served as the Deputy Chairperson of the Eastern Cape Planning Commission.
Dr Gwagwa’s passion for spatial equity has driven her philanthropic work. Two decades ago she founded the Mhakazi Trust to empower the young people of Umzimkulu, some of whom have even graduated from tertiary institutions.
Dr Lulu Gwagwa is a multifaceted woman: an accomplished development planner; business leader; and philanthropist. She is a keen writer and photographer who is currently studying philosophy.