Bongiwe completed her Bachelor of Law degree in 1996 and practiced as an attorney for two years before joining the aviation industry. Her career in the company started as Manager: Landside and Car Park Operations in 2000, based at the then-Johannesburg International Airport. In 2005, Bongiwe was appointed Assistant General Manager: Durban International Airport for seven years before preparing the new King Shaka International Airport for operations. She assumed the role of Operational Readiness: Project Leader and formed part of the team that successfully delivered the first greenfield airport in the country.
Bongiwe was appointed Assistant General Manager: King Shaka International Airport in 2010. In 2012, she was sent to Guarulhos International Airport in S Paolo, Brazil and formed part of the Airports Company South Africa technical team - her role during this period was Assistant Director: Airport Operations.