Gideon Mehluli Fipha Didumfula Dlamini was born on 10 January 1952 in Manzini, Swaziland. He obtained his Primary School Certificate from the Manzini Central Primary School (1958–1967), his Junior Certificate from Franson Christian High School (1968–1970), and the Ordinary Level Certificate from St. Christopher’s High School (1971–1972). He went on to obtain a Bachelor of Science (B.Sc.) degree in Agriculture, with Botany as a second major, from the Tuskegee Institute, Alabama, USA (1973–1977), and a Master of Science in Botany from Auburn University, Alabama, USA (1979–1982).
Married with four children, Gideon is a botanist, Chief of the Nkhungwini Community, and farmer. All his life, Gideon has enjoyed gardening and hence his interest in Agriculture. One of his first jobs in Swaziland was as an Agricultural Officer in the Soil Testing Unit. This involved testing soils for farmers and making fertilizer and lime recommendations to improve crop yields. The curator of the Swaziland Herbarium at the time, Mrs Ellen Kemp, and the Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture convinced Gideon to pursue Taxonomic Botany, as there were no Swazi’s trained on this subject.
Gideon is presently the Curator of the Swaziland National Herbarium (SDNH), which falls under the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives. As Herbarium Curator, Gideon is involved in developing an inventory of Swaziland's flora, monitoring such flora and recommending conservation measures to be undertaken, as well as promoting awareness campaigns and running the Herbarium. He has a special interest in the Fabaceae, Acanthaceae, and Rubiaceae families.
In addition to his responsibilities as Curator of the National Herbarium, Gideon chairs the Swaziland National Plant Genetic Resources Centre (NPGRC) Committee and represents Swaziland on the Board for the SADC Plant Genetic Resources Centre (SPGRC), based in Lusaka, Zambia. This is a network of the SADC Member states whose aim is to conserve the plant genetic resources of the region, both crop and indigenous, as well as to promote their sustainable utilisation.
Gideon served as the Swaziland representative on the SABONET Steering Committee for a while, and also serves as a member of the SABONET Executive Committee.
As a Chief (Fipha II) of the Nkhungwini Community in the south of the country, he allocates land for home construction and farming, oversees the proper utilisation of pasture and natural resources, as well as maintaining the general peace of the community. He is a naturalist with a deep appreciation for every creation and is “greatly respectful of snakes”.
A member of the traditional regiments affiliated with the Inyatsi Regiments, he strongly supports culture and is expected to participate in the traditional ceremonies at national, regional, and community level. His regimental name is Didumfula. Presently, he is a member of the Constitutional Review Committee, which is charged with drafting a new constitution for the country over the next two years.
Gideon enjoys singing, listening to music, and watching football and boxing, as well as going for walks in the field.