Vongani Ali Mdaka was born and grew up in the Tiyani (Magoro) Limpopo province in South Africa. He completed matric at Akani high school in 2003. Vongani completed a Bachelor of Administration from the University of Limpopo (Turf loop campus) in 2008. He also worked as a Librarian and as an Administrative Clerk for Magistrate Hlanganani, where he acquired additional practical skills and expertise.
Vongani joined the HSRC in 2009 when he started working as Field Researcher on the MSE Project, an HSRC collaboration with the University of Pennsylvania. He enjoys working with people from different cultures. He is currently studying towards a Bachelor of Law LLB with the University of South Africa (UNISA).