Born in the informal settlement of Khayalitsha, Cape Town, Bongiwe Nakani started her interest in singing at 7 years old through her sister who use to take her to choir rehearsals and choral competitions. She became exposed to opera music in High School and solo parts in choir and was awarded first prize for three consecutive years at the Tirisano Eistedford School Choir Singing Competition. In 2009 she enrolled in a Performers Diploma degree at the South African College of Music, University of Cape Town Opera School under the training of Patrick Tikolo and Prof Kamal Khan. While at the Univeristy of Cape Town Bongiwe made her mark by winning the 2nd prize of the Shock Foundation Singing Comeptition. In 2012 she also took 2nd Prize and the Audience Prize at the Amazwi Omzantsi Singing Competition. In 2012 Bongiwe was Chosento take part in the Glimmerglass Festival where she appeared in Lost in the Stars, Armida and Aida as part of the visiting student body from UCT Opera School.
Bongiwe Nakani made her debut in 2013 as Rosina in Il Barbiere di Siviglia in a coproduction of the UCT Opera School and Cape Town Opera and was a finalist at the ATKV Singing Competition followed by Marchesa Melibea in the celebrated UCT Opera School - Cape Town Opera coproduction of Il Viaggio a Reims. In 2015 she was won Third Prize at the Neue Stimmen International Competition, performed Elisabetta in Maria Stuarda and created the role of Mrs Makeleni in a new production of Four 30: Opera made in South Africa presented by UCT Opera School in collaboration with Cape Town Opera.
In 2016-17 Bongiwe Nakani joins the ensemble of the Vienna State Opera.