Lungelwa was born in 1970 in an Eastern Cape Township of Zwelitsha to Dr Wele Cecil Manona, a Rhodes University Anthropologist and Nobantu Manona, a qualified nurse who matriculated at Diocesan School for Girls in Grahamstown, Makhanda. She is married to Thabo Makgoba, Archbishop of the Anglican Church in Southern Africa, and they both have two adults children who are social sciences graduates of the University of Cape Town. Lungelwa studied at both Rhodes University and the AAA School of Advertising. She worked for the private sector in South Africa in marketing and advertising before starting a school for the street children, Nothemba crèche and her sewing and knitting company, Zimbatho. She has travelled widely, including to the UN Status of the Women, the Vatican for mining courageous conversations, the World Economic Forum and many other fora, including the Spirit of Humanity Forum. She is the Director and Co-founder of the Archbishop Thabo Makgoba Development Trust, an NGO focusing on education, social justice and food security. Lungelwa is a keen African woman farmer.