Born and bred in Mdantsane township in East London, Eastern Cape. Relocated to Cape Town 16 years ago. Before entering into politics and until March 2014 an Associate Professor (from being a lecturer; senior lecturer) at the Faculty of Community and Health Sciences, University of the Western Cape. She holds a PhD in the area of Gender and Human Rights (UWC), Masters in Maternal & Child Health (UKZN) and a Bachelors in Nursing Science (UFH). She previously worked in provincial and local government health departments in the Eastern Cape and KZN respectively. Dr Mbombo is currently the Western Cape Minister of Health. Before moving into this portfolio, she was the Western Cape Minister of Cultural Affairs & Sport.
As a community and scholar activist: has worked and collaborated with different stakeholders provincially, nationally, across Africa and globally engaging communities, civil society, governments, parliamentarians and professional bodies to reclaim the voices of the population at risk (eg. pregnant and rural women, minorities). She served in different organizations as a member, advisor and consultant in various ministerial committees (eg. National Committee of Confidential Enquiries on Maternal Death). Prof Mbombo has been visiting fellow and research associates at international universities and organisations (eg. NEPAD; UN Office of Human Rights: Women & Gender Directorate and Special Rapporteur on Health).