Sam Ntiro was born in 1923 in Machame, Kilimanjaro, in what is today Tanzania. At the age of 21 he set up an art studio and later obtained a degree in Fine Art and a Diploma in Education from Makerere University, Uganda, in 1948 and continued to lecture there in art. He also has a degree in Fine Art from the Slade and a Diploma in Education from London University. Ntiro served in the Tanzanian diplomatic service and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Dar es Salaam. From 1967 to 1973 he worked as a Commissioner of Culture in Tanzania and went on to teach at the University of Dar es Salaam. His themes are taken largely from the life of his people, the Chagga, and from Christendom, and have been shown in a great many exhibitions worldwide.